Cowgirl Volleyball Clinches Post-season Berth
It’s something that Wyoming Volleyball hasn’t experienced in 23 years. The Cowgirls will get to after a four-set win over San Diego State Wednesday night.
In their home finale, UW wrapped up second place in the Mountain West with a victory over the Aztecs. Scores of the match were 25-22, 27-25, 17-25 and 27-25. It marks the highest finish ever for Wyoming volleyball since the start of the MW in 1999. Their previous best was third place. It’s also the best conference finish since 1989, when the Cowgirls won the High Country Athletic Conference (HCAC).
Sophomore Halie McArdle had 14 kills, while redshirt freshman Jackie McBride added 10 kills. On senior night, senior Lily Austin had a career-high 31 digs.
Wyoming head coach Chad Callihan’s reaction was a proud one to see how his squad has turned it around.
“There was a point in the season where this team was 3-7, and I think they could’ve thrown in the towel, and they continued to battle… I just think you have to really think about where those players were at, and how they stayed committed to this program.”
Callihan explained that this will bring the Cowgirls a post-season opportunity with the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC), which will make its modern era debut this year. It would mark the first time in 23 years Wyoming volleyball has played in the post-season. The last time was the 1994 NCAA tournament.
Austin said that win was huge, “We’re just so excited right now, trying to enjoy this moment, definitely.”
Wyoming (17-12, 12-5) took advantage of 17 San Diego State hitting errors in the first two sets to take a 2-0 lead. Both were tight, as the first set featured 11 ties and five lead changes, while the second set had 13 ties and four lead changes. The Aztecs took control early in the third and won 25-17. In the fourth set, it was more back-and-forth, with 12 ties and six lead changes. Wyoming faced a few set points, but a big block, an ace by Austin and a dig by Austin that led to a key kill helped UW to the 27-25 win and clinch the match.
Overall, the Cowgirls took full advantage of 29 Aztecs attack errors, which included 11 in the final set.
UW will play at Fresno State Saturday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m., Mountain Time, to conclude the regular season. They will await their post-season fate in the NIVC on Sunday, Nov. 26.