SPOKANE, Wash. -
The Wyoming Cowgirl volleyball team came away with two victories at the Gonzaga Invitational on Saturday afternoon. The day began with a 3-1 (28-26, 22-25, 25-19, 25-23) win over Utah before closing out the tournament with another 3-1 (24-26, 28-26, 25-17, 25-20) victory over Montana.
It was a career day for a number of Cowgirls. Senior libero Allison Waldvogel, junior outside hitter Laura Beach and freshman setter/libero Cori Aafedt each had career matches against Utah. Waldvogel recorded a career-high and set a new school record in four sets with 35 digs, while Beach tied a career-high in kills with 17. Aafedt recorded the lone double-double for the Cowgirls against Utah. She had a team-high 20 assists to go along with 17 digs and four service aces. Against the Griz, senior outside hitter Kayla Henderson tied a career-high in kills with 13, as junior setter Courtney Chacon set a season-high with 28 assists. Junior outside hitter Kayla Slofkiss recorded her third double-double of the season with 10 kills and 10 digs against Montana.
In the first match of the day, the Cowgirls (5-1 overall) started out strong against the Utes taking a 5-1 lead. Utah closed the gap to one, 6-5, but Wyoming responded with a 9-5 run to take a 16-10 lead. They would increase that margin to eight, 20-12, and eventually earned set point, 24-22. After a Utah timeout, the Utes scored three straight to tie it up at 25 and then went ahead 26-25. The Cowgirls were able to regain control and score the final three points to win the set, 28-26.
Wyoming continued the momentum into the second set by going up early 5-2. Utah stormed back scoring seven of the next nine points to take a 9-7 advantage. The Cowgirls responded well and pulled even at 13, before eventually taking a 15-14 lead. Four straight points by the Utes put them back up 18-15 and a lead they would never relinquish. Utah evened up the match one all with a 25-22 win in the second set.
The Utes recorded three straight kills to begin the third set, but a kill by Henderson started a 5-0 run to give UW a 5-3 advantage. After Utah tied it up at five, the Cowgirls scored seven of the next ten points to take a four-point lead, 12-8. Wyoming maintained its lead throughout the remainder of the set as the teams played virtually even. The Cowgirls won the set 25-19 to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The two teams traded scores in the early part of the fourth set with neither team taking a significant lead. With it all tied up at 14, the Cowgirls scored three unanswered points to go ahead 17-14 forcing a Utah timeout. The Utes battled back, not only closing the gap, but eventually evening the score at 22. Wyoming regained control scoring three of the final four points to win the set 25-23 and the match 3-1.
In Wyoming's final match of the tournament, UW put up a good fight but dropped the first set against the Griz, 26-24. Wyoming was able to jump out to an 11-8 lead before the Griz climbed their way back. UM eventually claimed a three-point advantage, 18-15 before Wyoming marched out in front, 24-22. The Griz fought back to tie it at 24, before taking the next two points and the first set, 26-24.
Montana jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second set against the Cowgirls. A couple of service aces from Chacon brought UW's lead to four, 11-7. Neither the Griz nor Cowgirls were able to get more than a two-point lead after that. Wyoming eventually took the second set to tie the match, 1-1 with a final score of 28-26. UW was led by Shanahan in the second set with five kills, as Henderson added four.
The Cowgirls seemed to cruise through the third and fourth sets. A kill by Henderson made UW's lead 12-8 early in the third set. Wyoming never looked back as a service ace from sophomore Lily Austin brought Wyoming's lead to seven, 20-13. A kill from the reliable attacker Shanahan clinched the third set, 25-17. Montana jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the final set, before Wyoming tied it at eight by a kill from Slofkiss. Aside from the set being tied at 15 and also at 20, the Cowgirls remained in control and claimed the final five points for a 25-20 win.
The Cowgirls were able to really get it going offensively in the nightcap, as three players finished with double-digit kills. Shanahan led the way for Wyoming with 13, as Henderson and Slofkiss followed with 12 and 10, respectively. Waldvogel brought another great defensive effort in the second match of the day and finished with 27 digs, which proved to be her third match of the season with 25 or more digs. Aafedt finished the match against Montana with 20 assists and eight digs. Freshman middle blocker Reed Copeland led the Cowgirls in blocks in both matches. She had eight blocks in the second match of the day, after recording six against Utah.
Wyoming returns to action next week as it hosts the UniWyo Pistol Pete's Showdown in Laramie. The Cowgirls will welcome Kansas, Marquette and Northern Colorado.