Aug. 31, 2007
IRVINE, Calif. -
The Wyoming Cowgirl Volleyball team (3-1 overall) opened up the 2007 UC Irvine-Nike Invitational with a heartbreaking five game loss (30-25, 30-18, 27-30, 24-30, 13-15) against the Portland Pilots (3-1 overall) early in the day, but rebounded with a four game victory (30-25, 29-31, 32-30, 30-23) over the Toledo Rockets on Friday in Irvine, Calif.
In the match against Portland, Wyoming had three players with double-figures in kills including senior Angie Hellbaum. She finished with a team high 19 kills and a .294 (19-9-34) hitting percentage, along with eight digs and two block assists. Rachel Smith and Lauren Whitney followed with 16 each, which was a career high for Whitney. Libero Samantha Eley had a season high 24 digs. The Cowgirls hit .214 (63-29-159) and recorded 15 service aces for the match.
Portland was led by Jessica Clemens with a team high 16 kills and three service aces. She was followed by Maria Clemens with 13, Ashley Grayson and K.C. Fox with 12 and 11 respectively. Three players finished the match with double-figures in digs led by Danielle Dupar with 16. The Pilots hit .267 (63-24-146) and out blocked the Cowgirls 13-4.
"It was a tough battle in this match against Portland," said UW head coach Pat Stangle. `We had our chances in the fifth game as we got up 9-6, but didn't make the plays down the stretch when we needed to."
In the second match of the day against the Toledo Rockets, the Cowgirls were led by Smith, their senior outside hitter. She recorded a match high 21 digs, while hitting .196 (21-10-56). Hellbaum followed with 18 kills, seven digs and three block assists. Libero Carissa Lee finished with a team high 19 digs. Wyoming hit .211 (58-24-161) for the match and had nine total team blocks.
Toledo had three players in double-digits led by Shannon Strachan. She had 17 kills, seven digs and seven block assists. TaNeisha Winters recorded 15 kills and Margot Joniec had 14. Winters also finished with 12 digs as did Courtney Nissen. The Rockets hit .128 (58-37-164) for the match and had 12 total team blocks.
`We played a lot of people in this match," said Stangle. "It was a tough match and we really had to grind it out. I really liked how we played more aggressively and closed things out at the end."
The Cowgirls will close out the tournament tomorrow night against the UC Irvine Anteaters beginning at 8 p.m. Mountain Time.