Cowgirl Volleyball Wins Twice Tuesday
The Wyoming Cowgirl Volleyball Team (10-7 overall) closed out the non-conference season with two big wins on Tuesday night in Laramie. They opened up the night with a thrilling win over Pac-12 foe Colorado Buffaloes (9-3 overall) in five sets (25-21, 26-24, 14-25, 13-25, 15-11) followed by a three set victory (25-19, 25-22, 25-13) against the Black Hills State Yellow Jackets (5-8 overall).
"Every win is a great win for us and we were excited to be home. The fans were awesome," said head coach Chad Callihan. "I think it was a defining moment for us coming out of the gate and doing what we needed to be successful against a very good team in Colorado. They just knocked off 11th ranked UCLA on Friday night. This was a big win for us and even though we got down in sets three or four we never lost our composure, we just weren't executing the way we were capable. It was nice to see us rebound in the fifth set."
Colorado took the small 3-1 to begin the match, but the Cowgirls scored five of the next eight to tie it up at six all. The Buffs responded with six straight points to regain a 12-6 advantage. A kill by Kayla Henderson ended the Wyoming scoring drought. That would start a 7-3 run for UW to pull them to within one, 14-13. Out of a CU timeout, the Buffs recorded a kill to go up by two, 15-13, which was answered with four of five points for the Cowgirls to give them their first lead of the set, 17-16. Colorado tied it up on the next side out but Wyoming scored four straight to extend their advantage to four, 21-17. The Buffs pulled to within three, 24-21, but a kill by Reese Plante gave the Cowgirls the set, 25-21.
The score was all even at five through the first ten points of the second set. Wyoming scored three straight points after that to give them an 8-5 advantage. The Buffs responded with four of the next five to tie it up at nine. The Cowgirls came back with a 4-1 run to go back ahead 14-10. CU chipped away at the lead and eventually evened it up at 16 all. Wyoming scored the next point which started a small run to give them a 23-20 advantage. The Buffs climbed their way back into it with three points to make it 23-23. A kill from Kayla Slofkiss gave the Cowgirls set point, which CU would hold off. Wyoming kept their composure and scored the final two points to win the set, 26-24, to go up 2-0 in the match.
CU scored the first five of eight points to take a 5-3 advantage. After a kill by Slofkiss got the Cowgirls to four points, the Buffs scored five unanswered to go up by six, 10-4. The lead would grow to double-figures 19-9 as Wyoming struggled to get anything going offensively. The teams played even down the stretch as CU took set three, 25-14.
The momentum stayed on the side of the Buffs as they went ahead 5-2 in the fourth set. Wyoming pulled even at seven all. Colorado responded with a 7-1 run to regain the lead, 14-8. A kill by Kirby ended the scoring drought and started a small run to bring them to within three, 14-11. Unfortunately that would be as close as they would get. The Buffs would out score them 11-2 down the stretch to win the set 25-13 to force a fifth set.
It went back and forth in the fifth set as it was all even at four all. The Cowgirls scored the next five points to go ahead 9-4. A kill by Kerra Schroeder ended the run but Wyoming scored another three points to give them a 12-5 advantage. Colorado would mount a comeback and score six of eight to pull within three, 14-11, but a kill Slofkiss earned the set, 15-11, and the match, 3-2, for the Cowgirls.
Three Cowgirls finished the night in double-figures led by freshman Kayla Slofkiss. She recorded a team high 11 kills plus five digs. Plante recorded ten kills and hit .409 (10-1-22), while Bridget Shanahan also had ten kills. Wyoming hit .213 (54-22-150) and had nine total blocks for the match. The Buffs were led by Alexis Austin with 17 kills and a .382 (17-4-34) hitting percentage. Colorado hit .205 (72-34-185) for the match.
In the second match, the Cowgirls started off a little slow as they fell behind 5-2 against Black Hills State. The Yellow Jackets would increase that lead with a 6-4 run to go up by five, 11-6. After a UW timeout, started by two Shanahan kills Wyoming went on a 7-2 run to even up the score at 13 all. They would take their first lead of the set with five straight points, 18-13. BHSU chipped away at the deficit and made it a two-point set 18-16. That would be as close as it would get as the Cowgirls took set one 25-19.
Black Hills State jumped out early 4-1 in the second set, but the Cowgirls scored seven of the next ten to go up by one, 8-7. The Yellow Jackets went on a 6-1 run to regain the lead by four, 13-9. A kill by Shanahan ended the run and the Cowgirls chipped away at the lead eventually evening it up at 16 all. They scored the next three of four points to go back up by two, 19-17. BSHU would go away as they tied up the score at 21 all. Wyoming kept their composure and closed out the set on a 4-1 run to take the set, 25-22.
The momentum shifted to the Cowgirls in the third set as they built a 6-2 lead. After a couple scores by the Yellow Jackets, Wyoming went on an 8-0 run to take a double-figure lead, 14-4. The lead was never in jeopardy as they went on to win the set 25-13 and the match 3-0.
Kirby and Shanahan each finished the night with 11 kills each, while hitting .500 (11-1-20) and .562 (11-2-16) respectively. Freshman Laura Beach recorded nine kills, three block assists and a a team high .692 (9-0-13) hitting percentage. As a team, Wyoming hit .318 (47-12-110) and recorded ten total team blocks.
Wyoming will close out the week against the Nevada Wolf Pack, on Saturday, Oct. 5, in Reno. The match is set for 3:00 p.m. MT.