The University of Wyoming Cowgirl volleyball team (16-5 overall, 5-3 Mountain West) returns to the friendly confines of the UniWyo Sports Complex this week taking on Utah State (9-9 overall, 5-3 MW) and Boise State (12-8 overall, 5-3 MW). Wyoming faces the Aggies on Thursday at 7 p.m. MT. Wyoming will then face Boise State on Saturday at 2 p.m. MT.
This weekend marks the reunion celebration for Wyoming volleyball. Nearly 40 alumni and the 1989 team will be honored Saturday. The 1989 Wyoming Cowgirl volleyball team was one of the most successful in school history. Not only did the Cowgirls win Wyoming’s only High Country Athletic Conference (HCAC) volleyball title, but played their way past Washington and Stanford to earn a spot in the Elite 8 of the 1989 NCAA Tournament.
For the first time this season, middle blocker Erin Kirby has been selected as the Mountain West Volleyball Player of the Week for matches played from Oct. 13-19. It’s the fourth time in her career she has taken home the award. She last earned the honor on Dec. 2, 2013.
Kirby, a 6-0 senior from Evanston, Wyo., led the Cowgirls to a 2-0 record this past weekend with wins over Air Force and New Mexico. She averaged 3.62 kills and a team-high 1.50 blocks and .455 (29-4-55) hitting percentage. Against the Falcons, Kirby recorded 15 kills and six blocks along with a team-high .560 (15-1-25) hitting percentage and followed that up with 14 kills and six total blocks against the Lobos on Saturday. With those six blocks against the UNM, she became the all-time MW leader in that category. Kirby surpassed Utah’s Kim Turner (2000-03) who held the previous mark with 670. For her career, Kirbyh has 672 total career blocks.
The Cowgirls got defensive last weekend recording 94 digs against New Mexico. Junior Allison Waldvogel and sophomores Kayla Slofkiss and Courtney Chacon combined for 65 of the Cowgirls’ digs. It was the first time that three Cowgirls recorded 20 or more digs since Nov. 7, 1984 against Hawai’i.
About Utah State: The Aggies come into Thursday’s match with a 9-9 overall record and 5-3 record in the MW. Last week, Utah State fell to Boise State in four sets in Boise, Idaho. The Aggies fought back sweeping Fresno State last Thursday in Logan, Utah. USU ranks seventh in the MW in hitting percentage at .193 (911-416-2560). The Aggies are sixth in the MW in kills at 12.31 per frame. They also rank sixth in the league in assists averaging 11.58 per stanza. Defensively, USU ranks third in the league in blocks at 3.09 per set. The Aggies rank fifth in the MW in digs at 14.46 per set. The Aggies offense is paced by senior Rachel Orr, who is fourth in the league in kills at 3.38 per set. Senior Kaitlyn Vanhoff leads USU in hitting percentage, ranking seventh in the MW at .335 (205-65-418). Defensively, junior Elle Brainard leads the MW in blocks averaging 1.62 per frame. Senior Ashlan Rogers-Court ranks fourth in the MW in digs at 4.01 per frame.
About Boise State: The Broncos head into the weekend with a 12-8 overall record and a 5-3 mark in MW play. The Broncos have won four straight-matches dating back to Oct. 9, after a three-match MW losing streak. Boise State ranks second in the league in kills per set at 14.11. The Broncos rank third in the MW in hitting percentage at .281 (988-333-2328). BSU ranks second in the league in assists at 13.06 per set. Defensively, Boise State ranks eighth in the league in digs at 13.21 per set and seventh in blocks at 2.09 per frame. Freshman Sierra Nobley leads the MW in kills at 3.90 per set. Sophomore Maddy O’Donnell leads the MW in hitting percentage at .421 (170-39-311). Defensively, sophomore Hannah Hubbard ranks fifth in the conference in digs at 3.95 per set. O’ Donnell leads Boise State in blocks, ranking 11th in the conference at 1.08 per set.