The University of Wyoming volleyball program will return to the friendly confines of the UniWyo Sports Complex on Thursday night and Saturday afternoon to begin Mountain West action. The Cowgirls (7-6) host San Jose State (7-5), at 6:30 p.m. MT on Thursday, followed by Fresno State (9-2) at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
“There are a number of things that make it a little more competitive than the first four weeks of play,” UW head coach Chad Callihan said. “Conference play is different, but there is a little bit of familiarity with teams that you play twice every year. It still comes down to execution and making the plays that you need to in order to win. We know we typically play well at home, and what we want to become is a good road team as well. We had the idea that Idaho would be a challenge, so to come away with a win on their home court was a good thing for us. These next two teams are definitely good teams with different styles. It is a good opportunity for us to see where we are at looking ahead for the rest of the year.”
Thursday’s match against the Spartans is fraternity and sorority life night, while Saturday’s match will feature the Mike English Award. Presented by Nancy English, the award will be given to the senior with the highest grade-point average.
Wyoming has won six of its last seven and all four of its home matches this season. All four home wins have come by way of a straight-set sweep. Last year, the Cowgirls split the series with SJSU and won their lone match against Fresno State. Additionally, UW holds a 5-1 record in the opening weekend of MW home matches and has reached the ten-win plateau in the MW each year with Callihan as head coach.
Senior setter Courtney Chacon has been tasked with orchestrating the offensive attack for the Cowgirls. She leads the team with an average of 8.17 assists per set. Senior’s Laura Beach and Kayla Slofkiss have paced UW with 2.40 and 2.29 kills per set, respectively, as junior Lily Austin records 3.67 digs per set for the Cowgirls.
SJSU swept its first three opponents it played to begin the 2016 season, as they defeated Providence, UMASS-Lowell and Manhattan in straight-sets. The Spartans come to Laramie hitting .178, while allowing its opponents to hit .168 through 12 matches. Giulia Gavio is putting down 4.23 kills per set, with Thelma Gretarsdottir (2.89) and Summer Avery (2.62) each averaging at least 2.0 kills per frame. Wyoming holds a 6-4 advantage in the all-time series.
Fresno State (9-2) will play at Colorado State before coming to Laramie for Saturday’s match. The Bulldogs dropped just two matches in nonconference, falling to DePaul and Portland. Six of Fresno’s nine wins came in 3-0 sweeps, including two of its last three against Prairie View A&M and Incarnate Word. The Bulldogs are hitting .257 as a team while allowing opponents to hit .157. Aleisha Coates leads the offense with 3.87 kills per set, while setter Madelyn Halteman is averaging 9.81 assists per set. Wyoming leads the all-time series, 16-10, and has won four straight against the Bulldogs.
The video stream of each match will be available through GoWyo.com, and will also be available for viewing on the Mountain West Network at TheMW.com and on Campus Insiders at CampusInsiders.com.