BYU-Sam Houston State wvb photo

BYU senior McKenna Miller (14) celebrates with her teammates after a point in the Doterra Classic against Sam Houston State in the Smith Fieldhouse on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019.

BYU’s first road test is a big one.

The No. 13 Cougars won five of its six matches at home during the Nike Invitational and the Doterra Classic, their only loss to seventh-ranked Marquette. On Thursday, BYU begins a three-match set at the Shocker Volleyball Classic in Wichita, Kan. The marquee matchup is on Friday against No. 3 Texas.

The Cougars and the Longhorns have a history. In 2014, BYU topped Texas 3-1 in the NCAA semifinals. In 2016, the Longhorns held off the Cougars 3-2 in Austin in the NCAA Sweet 16. Last season, BYU swept Texas 3-0 in Provo to earn a spot in the NCAA Final Four.

The Longhorns (3-1) return all but one starter from last year’s team that posted a 23-5 record. Texas has already beaten two ranked teams (No. 14 USC and No. 8 Minnesota) and took top-ranked Stanford to five sets before falling on Sunday.

The Longhorns grumbled last year when BYU earned the No. 4 NCAA seed and home court advantage for the Sweet 16, so revenge will be on the minds of 6-foot-1 senior Micaya White and 6-2 sophomore Logan Eggleston, who are both averaging 4.06 kills per set this season.

BYU’s McKenna Miller is fully recovered from a knee injury suffered near the end of the regular season in 2018. The senior outside hitter leads the Cougars will 3.74 kills per set and is hitting .295. Last week, Miller totaled 36 kills and hit .321 as BYU won three matches to take the doTerra Classic title in the Smith Fieldhouse. For her efforts, Miller was named the MVP of the Classic and earned West Coast Conference Player of the Week honors.

Freshman setter Whitney Bower is also off to a great start, leading the team with 15 service aces and 9.70 assists per set.

BYU opens the Shocker Classic against host Wichita State (3-3) and concludes the tournament against VCU (4-3) on Saturday. The three matches in Wichita are part of a grueling seven-match stretch of games away from Provo. The Cougars play at No. 16 Utah on Sept. 19 and at No. 1 Stanford on Sept 21 before opening WCC play on Sept. 26 at Gonzaga and Sept. 28 at Portland.

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter @darnellwrites or e-mail him at ddickson@heraldextra.com.

Darnell Dickson, who has been covering sports in Utah since 1989 (with a detour to Nebraska for three years somewhere in there), is currently the BYU football columnist and BYU men’s basketball beat writer.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!