Cowgirl Volleyball Led by Returning Senior

September 4, 1998

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

As the 1998 University of Wyoming Cowgirl Volleyball season approaches there is much optimism for the upcoming year. Picked to place second in the Mountain Division preseason coaches poll, the Cowgirls will look to improve upon a 19-12 record and a 10-4 third place finish in the conference last season.

One key to the Cowgirls success will be the play of outside hitter Jami Laya. Laya, a senior from Ranchester, Wyo., is a returning second team All-WAC performer and is one of the Cowgirls leading statistical players. Laya feels Wyomings success from last season makes expectations even higher this year.

"We expect to do well this season, our expectations are higher than last year," said Laya. "Our main goal is to make it to the NCAA Tournament, but we first need to focus on the tasks ahead of us. We want to win our division, and with being ranked second in the preseason poll it gives us a motivation factor. We would like to win the division, go onto the WAC Tournament and really succeed."

As far as expectations for herself this season, Laya is still looking to improve from last year, but also enjoy the experience along the way.

"I just want to work hard and improve," she added. "I want to have good practices, so I can become a better player. Ultimately, I would like to achieve the same goals as last year if even better, but also play hard and have fun."

Leadership will also play a big factor in this years success. With some new faces on the squad, Laya says her example, along with the other upperclassmen will be a key.

"Its important to have the upperclassmen both on and off the court," Laya said. "There are some freshmen that need guidance, and its up to us to set an example and get them started on the right track. As seniors, weve been here the longest and it should be our job to take care of anything that might be happening both on and off the court."

There is also enthusiasm around this seasons schedule, as Wyoming encounters some tough competition. In all the Cowgirls will face nine teams that participated in the NCAA Tournament. This high level of competition early should help the Cowgirls succeed in conference play down the road.

"Im really excited about the schedule. Weve had a couple of weeks of good practices, and were starting to really get things together. Im excited to play these teams, because its going to start us off strong leading into conference play."

With a good solid nucleus of players back and the leadership of the upperclassmen the future definitely looks bright. For the Wyoming Cowgirls, expect senior outside hitter Jami Laya to be a player that can certainly spark the Cowgirls onto success this season.