Cowgirl Volleyball Split to Close out Non-Conference Action

The Wyoming volleyball team (11-2 overall) closed out non-conference play with a split at the Hampton Inn & Suites Northern Colorado Classic, on Saturday. In the first match of the day, the Cowgirls swept the Hampton Pirates (5-7 overall) in three sets (25-18, 25-16, 25-16) but fell in four sets (25-20, 17-25, 22-25, 21-25) against the Northern Colorado Bears (7-5 overall).

Bridget Shanahan and Kayla Henderson were named to the All-Tournament Team. Shanahan averaged 3.91 kills, 4.09 points and hit .350 (43-7-103). She also recorded a career high 19 kills against Hampton. Henderson finished the weekend averaging 2.36 kills, almost one block and hit .339 (26-7-56).

“Northern Colorado played a great match this evening,” head coach Chad Callihan said. “We managed the match well in the first set and then the wheels fell off. We have to find a way to grind out points even when we aren’t playing our best.”

In the first match of the day, the Cowgirls squared off with the Hampton Pirates. It went back and forth until Wyoming took a small three point lead, 8-5. After Hampton scored on the next side out, UW went on a 10-4 run to extend the lead to eight, 18-10. The Pirates tried to chip away at the Wyoming lead and closed the gap to five, 20-15. The Cowgirls closed out the set on a 5-3 run to take the first set, 25-18.

The second set was very close in the early going between the two teams until a 10-4 run by the Cowgirls gave them a 16-10 advantage. An attack error by Beach gave the Pirates their 11th point of the set, but it didn’t seem to break any momentum by the Cowgirls. They allowed Hampton to score only five more points the remainder of the way as they won the second set, 25-16, to take a 2-0 lead in the match.

The Pirates came out with a little fire in the third set as they took a 6-3 lead. Wyoming responded with a 7-1 run started by a Bridget Shanahan kill to put them up by three, 10-7. They increased the lead to six, 16-10, and really had no struggles down the stretch. The Cowgirls won set 25-16 and the match 3-0. For the set, UW hit .500 (19-4-30).

Shanahan finished with a career high 19 kills, while hitting .600 (19-1-30) for the match. Erin Kirby followed up her record breaking night with nine kills and three block assists and setter Courtney Chacon had 41 assists and ten digs. Libero Allison Waldvogel led the way with career high 16 digs. Wyoming hit a season high .448 (52-9-96) for the match and had five total team blocks.

Vendula Strakova finished with a team high 18 kills and hit .317 (18-5-41) for Hampton. The Pirates hit .263 (38-12-99) for the match.

In the final match of the day, Wyoming and the Northern Colorado Bears battled for the championship title. The teams traded scores in the early part of the first set until a 4-1 run gave UW an 11-7 lead. The Bears chipped away at the lead and evened up the score at 12 all. UW scored on the next side out and regained the lead 17-14. After UNC tied it back up at 18 all, three straight kills from Shanahan and Slofkiss made it 21-18. The Cowgirls closed out the set scoring four of the next six points to win set one, 25-20.

The momentum stayed on the side of the Cowgirls as they built and 8-5 advantage. The Bears evened it up at nine and then a kill by Shanahan put UW up 10-9. Northern Colorado responded with an 11-2 run to take a commanding 20-13 lead. Unfortunately, Wyoming couldn’t chip away at the deficit as the Bears won the set 25-17 to even up the match at one all.

The teams were all tied up at nine all through the first 18 points of the third set. The Bears answered first with a 4-0 run to take the 13-9 lead. A kill by Slofkiss started a small run by the Cowgirls to close the gap to two, 15-13. Northern Colorado continued to play solid offense as it extended the lead back to six, 21-15. Wyoming pulled to within two, 24-22, but fell 25-22 in the set and 2-1 in the match.

There was no slowing down the Bears as they took a 6-3 advantage in set four. Started by a service ace from Chacon, the Cowgirls chipped away and pulled to within two 8-6. Four straight points from UNC increased the lead back to six, 12-6. Wyoming earned a point on the next side out, which was answered with five of the next eight points to make it a seven-point set, 17-10. Unfortunately, the Cowgirls couldn’t overcome the deficit as they fell in the set 25-21 and the match 3-1.

Slofkiss and Shanahan each recorded double-figure kills on the night with 13 and 12 respectively. Chacon tallied 36 assists and 15 digs, while Waldvogel and Austin each had 13 and 12 digs. The Cowgirls hit .232 (52-19-142) for the match and out blocked the Bears, 10-6.

UNC had four players in double-digits led by Kendra Cunningham with 16 kills and a match high 19 digs. Kim Weissmann and Timarie Nymyer each had 11 kills while Andrea Spaustat added 10. UNC hit .310 (66-17-155) for the match.

Wyoming will begin the 2014 Mountain West Conference season next week on the road. The Cowgirls will face the Boise State Broncos, on Thursday, and the Utah State Aggies,  on Saturday. Both matches are set for 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time.