LARAMIE, Wyo. (Oct. 27, 2016) – The University of Wyoming Cowgirl volleyball team earned a 3-1 win (20-25, 25-14, 25-20, 25-23) over Utah State on Thursday night in the UniWyo Sports Complex. The victory was the first of the season where UW (15-9, 8-3 MW) came from behind to win after dropping the first set and it also marks the fifth-straight over the Aggies.
“I thought the seniors did a nice job of stepping up and making some big plays tonight,” UW head coach Chad Callihan said. “Utah State has been playing great volleyball lately. I was glad to see us turn things around after that first set. The distribution tonight was pretty even. Courtney (Chacon) did a fantastic job of distributing throughout the match. She was really in a good rhythm all evening which helped us along down the stretch.”
Senior Laura Beach was one of four Cowgirl players to record double-digit kills on Thursday night against Utah State. Beach finished the night with a team-high 13, while also adding two total blocks. Senior Kayla Slofkiss and sophomore Emily Lewis chipped in 12 kills apiece, as sophomore Reed Copeland added 11 for the Brown and Gold. Copeland was second on the team with five blocks while freshman Tara Traphagan recorded a match-high six blocks for UW. Traphagan added six kills during the match as well.
Directing the offense to a .231 attacking percentage and a season-high 58 team kills was Courtney Chacon. The senior recorded her sixth double-double of the year by dishing out a season-best 50 assists against the Aggies, in addition to 11 digs. Freshman Madi Fields posted a match-high 18 digs during the four-set match, as junior Lily Austin had a match-high three service aces and six digs for Wyoming.
Chacon added two kills on the evening, while sophomore Laurel Place and freshman Halie McArdle each posted one for Wyoming. McArdle had one roof as junior Dani Westfall dished out one assist. It was Place’s first kill while wearing the Brown and Gold at home. Junior Shelby Johnson added a career-high eight digs againt Utah State.
Set 1: To close out the first set, Utah State utilized a 10-6 run to propel them to victory. The Aggies hit .367 in the opening set and had 14 kills. Wyoming had tied it at 15 before the Aggies ran away with it. Wyoming called a timeout behind 16-19 and again trailing 19-21 to regroup. Utah State finished the set with a kill to make the final score, 20-25. Beach and Lewis each had four kills during the opening frame.
Set 2: Wyoming’s 18 kills and .484 hitting percentage in the second propelled it to even the set score at one before intermission. The Cowgirls were able to jump out to an 11-4 lead early and never looked back. Four different Cowgirls had at least four kills in the second set. Copeland led the way with five, as Beach, Slofkiss and Lewis each chipped in four. UW held its largest lead of the match ahead 24-14 before a kill from Copeland brought the score to 25-14 and took the teams to the break.
Set 3: The third set went back and forth throughout. The largest lead Wyoming had was five. The Cowgirls had the advantage 12-7 and 21-16. A four-point run by the Aggies cut UW’s lead to one, 21-20 before four-straight points closed out the set in favor of Wyoming. Slofkiss once again had four kills while Chacon added 12 assists.
Set 4: The fourth and final frame was another close battle between the two teams. Wyoming sealed its victory with a 25-23 set win. With Wyoming and Utah State tied at seven, three consecutive attacking errors by Wyoming helped the Aggies stay alive and take a 9-7 lead. Nine kills between Beach and Slofkiss, in addition to 12 assists from Chacon during the set sparked the offense for Wyoming. Tied at 22, UW earned sideout after a kill from Slofkiss. Beach then nailed home the final kill for the Cowgirls for its ninth win at home this season.
Wyoming will once again be home next Thursday. UW will face New Mexico for the Throwback Thursday match against New Mexico. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m. MT.
-With her 12 kills tonight, Kayla Slofkiss needs only 21 kills to become the 11th Cowgirl to record 1,000 during her career.
-Laura Beach now owns a share of sixth place all-time with 407 total blocks. She is tied with Judy Peck (1988-91). Beach continues to hold the top spot in all-time hitting percentage (.370) and is 91 kills away from 1,000 for her career.
-Courtney Chacon remains in sixth place in Cowgirl history with 3,104 career assists. She also recorded her 33rd career double-double on Thursday night, which leads all active MW players. Tonight’s match proved to be the ninth time in her career she recorded at least 50 assists and the first match since her sophomore season. Her career-high is 57.
-Chad Callihan won his 44th conference match at the helm of Wyoming volleyball. The only coach ahead of Callihan for conference wins is Hall of Fame coach Mike English (46).
-The 58 team kills against Utah State on Thursday night is a season-best. The previous high was 55 against San Diego State on Oct. 13.
-The 52 assists for Wyoming is also a season-high. Before tonight, UW had only passed out at least 50 once, which came at Fresno State on Oct. 20.