Cowgirls Earn First Victory Of 2002 Season

Aug. 30, 2002

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Mt. Pleasant, Mich. -- First year head coach Jim Barnes and the Wyoming Cowgirl Volleyball Team (1-0 overall) opened up the 2002 season on Friday night with a 3-1 victory over the Central Michigan Chippewas (0-1 overall), at the Chippewa Classic in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., by the scores of 28-30, 30-28, 30-23, 30-16.

The same rally scoring format will be in place this season, which is a point on every serve, games onethrough four go up to 30 points and the final game going to 15 points. Each team must win by two points.

Both teams opened up the match a little tight, but after a few tosses of the ball each seem to get into a rhythm. In game one, neither team really took a lead larger than two or three points and stayed closethroughout. With the score tied at 17 all, Central Michigan scored four straight to take a 21-17 advantage, a lead that would grow to as large as eight points. But down 28-20, the Cowgirls fought their way back into it by scoring seven unanswered to close within one point only to fall short 30-28.

Game two seemed to start off very similar to the first with each team trading points, as the Cowgirls would take an early at 6-5. It would be an advantage they would hold on throughout and as large as four points. The Chippewas made a comeback though to tie the score at 24-24 late in the game, but Wyoming held on by scoring the next six of ten points to win the game 30-28.

The Cowgirls took control of game three from the opening serve by taking a 4-1 lead. That advantagewould grow to 17-9 as they would outscore CMU 13-8 over the next few points. A couple of small runs by the Chippewas would close the Cowgirl lead to three, but it wouldn't be enough. They would take the game30-23 and a 2-1 lead in the match.

In the fourth and final game of the match, the Cowgirls took control from the first point to the last. They held the lead the entire game despite several great efforts by Central Michigan to do otherwise. Behind some tough hitting and good serving, the Cowgirls took the game 30-16 and the match 3-1.

"It was really a great start to the season for us," said head coach Jim Barnes. "As a young team, you always wonder how they will come out and respond to a game type situation. I'm proud of how theyresponded with emotion and intensity, and that's what we talked about coming into the match. We keptimproving each game and that was a big key, as we got stronger as the match progressed."

The Chippewas were led by Kendra Devries, who finished with 12 kills and a .360 hitting percentage. Asa team, they hit .174 (53-27-149) and had 38 digs for the match.

A young team took the floor on the night, as two juniors and four sophomores were in the starting lineupfor the Cowgirls. They finished the night hitting .381 (71-20-134), had 65 assists, 53 digs and outblocked CMU 14.5 to seven. Four Cowgirls finished with double-figure kills, including junior Michele Rauter. She finished the match with a team high 20 kills, ten digs and a .375 hitting percentage.

The Cowgirls will finish the tournament tomorrow with two matches during the day. They will take onthe Marquette Golden Eagles (1-0 overall) at 10:00 a.m., Mountain Time and then a final match against the Cleveland State Vikings (0-1 overall) at 2:00 p.m., Mountain Time.