LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming volleyball team (7-0 overall) took home the UniWyo Cowgirl Classic title with a three-set sweep (25-14, 26-24, 25-8) over the Montana Griz (0-6 overall) on Saturday afternoon in Laramie. The Cowgirls have now won a school-best 14 matches in a row dating back to last season. It surpasses the 13-match winning streak set by the 1989 team. During that stretch of matches, Wyoming has only dropped seven sets to its opponents.
Three Cowgirls were selected to the All-Tournament team led by junior Bridget Shanahan. She recorded a team high 12 kills and hit .407 (12-1-27) on her way to earning MVP honors. Laura Beach followed with 10 kills and five total blocks and Erin Kirby added six kills and three blocks to garner All-Tournament Team honors. Wyoming hit .344 (43-11-93) for the match and out blocked the Griz 9-5.
Montana had a tough outing as two players, Michelle Robinson and Claire McCown each finished with five kills each. Libero Taylor Chile had a team high 14 kills and Kelsey Schile recorded 12 assists. The Griz hit .095 (25-16-84) for the match.
"We talked that a team seeing you a second time around is going to make adjustments and do things differently, which Montana did today," head coach Chad Callihan said. "It took us a little while to get in sync and find our rhythm because it was such an emotional match last night. I give Montana a lot of credit to keep us off for a bit. We did a good job of settling in and playing well in the third set.
"We've been on a nice run this season and between last season and this year the personnel is completely different. I'm excited about the start we've had, didn't play as well this weekend, but I think playing in front of the crowd we just didn't manage the emotions as well. It is good for us to learn from it, we still have a fairly young team on the floor."
Wyoming took the early 4-2 lead to begin the match against Montana which they increased to 7-4. The Griz scored four of the next six to close the gap to one, 9-8. The Cowgirls responded with an 8-1 run including five straight points to pull ahead by eight, 17-9. After a kill by Montana's Robinson, Wyoming closed out the set out scoring Montana, 8-4, to take it, 25-14. The Cowgirls hit .324 (15-3-37) while Erin Kirby had four kills and hit .800 (4-0-5).
Montana scored first in the second set but three straight kills by Shanahan put Wyoming up 3-1. The score would quickly be evened up at four and then the teams traded scores. With the score 9-8 in favor of the Cowgirls, the Griz ran off four straight to pull ahead 12-9. The Cowgirls clawed their way back into it and evened up the score at 15 all. A kill by McCown ended the Wyoming scoring streak but the teams traded points over the next several scores with neither gaining a real advantage. The Griz earned set point at 24-23 which the Cowgirls answered with two Kayla Henderson kills and a block assist by Henderson and Beach to take set two, 26-24.
The momentum stayed on the side of the Cowgirls to being the third set as they scored the first seven points. After a Montana score, the Cowgirls built the lead to 14-7. From that point, UW scored the next ten straight points before giving the Griz their eighth point of the set. Wyoming would close it out 25-8 and the match 3-0.
Wyoming continues play next weekend at home as they host the UniWyo Wyoming Invite beginning on Friday, Sept. 12. They will host Furman, Gonzaga and Weber State.
UniWyo Cowgirl Classic All-Tournament Team
Hayley BensonBall State
Mechell DanielSouth Alabama
Jessica LewisSouth Alabama