Wyoming Volleyball Begins UniWyo Cowgirl Classic 2-0

Sept. 1, 2006

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

Wyoming/Southern Illinois Box Score
Wyoming/Birmingham-Southern Box Score
New Orleans/Southern Illinois Box Score
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The Wyoming Cowgirl Volleyball team (4-1 overall) opened up the 2006 UniWyo Cowgirl Classic with a four game win (30-25, 24-30, 30-24, 31-29) over the Southern Illinois Salukis (1-4 overall) and a three game sweep (30-15, 30-19, 30-27) of the Birmingham Southern Panthers (0-3 overall) on Friday in Laramie.

Against Southern Illinois, Wyoming was led by Rachel Smith, who finished with a season high 27 kills, while recording six digs and three blocks. She was followed by freshman Annie Meyers with 19 kills and eight digs. Micah Lines had a match high 21 digs in the contest, while freshman setter Jessica Kagarise had a career high 33 assists. As a team, they hit .250 (67-25-168) for the match, while recording 64 assists, 57 digs and seven total team blocks.

Southern Illinois was led by Kristie Berwanger with 17 kills and 15 digs. She was followed by Johannah Yutzy with 12 kills and five blocks and Kelsie Laughlin with ten kills and 13 digs. The Salukis hit .213 (57-25-150) for the match and had ten total team blocks.

"It was one of those matches that we really stayed in and fought," said head coach Pat Stangle. "We stayed with it and fought through the down times and that was enough to beat them at the end. We're going to have matches like that and I was impressed with the way setter Jessica Kagarise came in and stabilized some things for us."

Southern Illinois would score the first point of the first game, but the Cowgirls stormed back with a 9-2 scoring run to go up by six points, 9-3. The Salukis first responded by scoring five of eight to pull within three, 11-8, and another 5-2 run to tie it up at 13. The two teams traded points until the Cowgirls gained a four point lead 18-14 which they maintained and extended to six, 27-21. SIU continued to battle and pulled to within two, 27-25, but it wouldn't be enough as the Cowgirls took game one, 30-25.

Wyoming jumped out early to take a 6-3 lead in the second game, but Southern Illinois went on a 9-3 run to take their first lead, 12-9. The Cowgirls finally managed to reach double-figures unfortunately the Salukis continued to dominate by scoring the next 12 of 18 to open up an eight point lead, 24-16. Wyoming would pull to within five, but that would be as close as they would get as Southern Illinois would win game two, 30-24.

The two teams traded points in the early going of the third game until Southern Illinois gained the upper hand by taking a 10-6 lead. The Cowgirls battled back as they scored seven of the next ten to tie it up at 13. The Salukis would score the next point, but Wyoming responded with a 7-1 scoring run to go up by five, 20-15, and extended it to nine, 26-17. Once again, SIU wouldn't go away as they scored the next four straight points to pull within five, 26-21. Wyoming maintained their composure and held them to only three points the remainder of the game as they took the game 30-24 and a 2-1 lead in the match.

The Salukis scored five of seven to open up the fourth game to take a 5-2 advantage. Wyoming came back and scored nine of twelve to gain their first lead 11-8. After a Southern Illinois point another 7-2 run gave UW their largest lead of the game 18-10. A very determined Southern Illinois team continued to battle and fight their way back in to it by scoring 11 of 14 to pull even at 21 all. Wyoming scored to quick points, but SIU scored three of four to even it back up at 24. The two teams traded points back and forth until the Cowgirls reached match point at 29-28. The Salukis would hold off two match points before falling to the Cowgirls 31-29 and 3-1 in the match.

Against Birmingham-Southern the Cowgirls were again led by Rachel Smith who finished with a match high 18 kills, while posting a career high .548 (18-1-31) hitting percentage. She also added eight digs. Freshman Annie Meyers had eight kills and seven digs and Nicki Kent had seven kills. As a team they hit .408 (53-11-103) compared to .127 (32-19-102) by the Panthers.

"Birmingham-Southern really hung around for about 10 or 12 points in each game, but then we were able to get a run going to stop those," said Stangle. "Game three we played a few more people and it was a little bit closer. I like the fact that we were able to get in to a little dog fight and get out of it in the end.

"New Orleans is a big tough, physical team with some really talented players. They'll have another day to adjust and so I really expect a good match tomorrow night."

Birmingham-Southern was led by Michelle Maciejewski who had ten kills and seven digs. Libero Alex Norten had a match high 12 kills.

BSU opened things in game one by taking a 3-1 lead, but Wyoming answered with six of seven points to take a 7-4 advantage. The Panthers evened it up at seven and Wyoming quickly regained a small advantage, but couldn't shake BSU. With the score tied at 12, Wyoming went on a 7-2 run to open up a five point lead, 19-14. They would out score the Panthers 11-1 the rest of the way to take the game 30-15.

The Cowgirls once again fell behind in the early part of the second game but down 10-8 they scored eight unanswered to go up six, 16-10. After BSU scored a couple of points, Wyoming scored the next six of nine extending the lead to 22-15. It would never be close as the went on to take the game, 30-19.

Wyoming took an early 10-4 lead in game three, but the Panthers battle back with a 6-3 scoring run to pull within three 13-10. The Cowgirls quickly regained an 18-13 advantage unfortunately a determined Birmingham Southern team would not go away. They battled back to pull with two, 23-21 and eventually tied it up at 27 all. Wyoming kept their composure and scored the final three points to win the game 30-27 and the match 3-0.

The Cowgirls will close out the tournament tomorrow night against New Orleans at 7:00 p.m. in the UniWyo Sports Complex.