LAWRENCE, Kan. -
The Wyoming Cowgirl Volleyball Team (9-1 overall) opened up the first day of competition on Friday at the Jayhawk Invitational with a split in their two matches. In a thriller, they defeated Arizona State (6-1 overall) in the first match of day in five sets (25-23, 18-25, 18-25, 26-24, 15-11), while closing out the day with a four set loss (15-25, 28-26, 21-25, 27-25) against the College of Charleston (4-3 overall).
"We had a great performance this morning against Arizona State," said head coach Carrie Yerty. "They are a solid program and it was a tremendous win. We had some outstanding play by several players including Becky Stewart with a career high 33 digs. We knew that it would be a battle with the College of Charleston. They were coming off a loss to Kansas in the first match and we knew they would be hungry. We came out a little slow and went away from our game plan. We need to regroup and get ready to close out the tournament against Kansas tomorrow."
After the two teams traded the first four points, the Cowgirls scored five of the next six points to give them a 7-3 advantage in the early going of the first set. Arizona State answered with a 6-2 run to even things up at nine all. Two points by Wyoming put them back up 11-9, which they would build up to three, 14-11. They would continue to maintain their lead for the next several points as the two teams played even. With the score 18-16 in favor of UW, the Sun Devils ran off the next 7 of 12 to tie up the score at 23-23. The Cowgirls regrouped after a timeout and scored the final two points to take the first set 25-23.
Arizona State came out as the aggressor in the second set as they jumped out to the 6-2 early lead. The Cowgirls tried to close the gap with three of the next four points to make it a two point set, 7-5. The Sun Devils rebuilt their lead back to three, 10-7, which was answered with a 7-4 run by UW to tie the score at 14-14. ASU responded with four straight points to make it 18-14, which they would extend to seven, 23-16, with five of the next seven points. The Cowgirls scored two straight points, but their comeback fell short with the Sun Devils winning set two 25-18.
Momentum carried over with Arizona State in the third set as they scored three straight to begin the set. The Cowgirls scored five of eight to pull within one, 6-5. The Sun Devils charged right back with a 7-3 run to build the lead back to five, 13-8. Wyoming would score the next point to end the run, but unfortunately ASU continued to stretch the lead by going up by six, 19-13. The Cowgirls were able to pull to within three points, 21-18. It wouldn't be enough as the Sun Devils won the third set by the exact score 25-18.
In the fourth set, the score was all even through the first eight points. Wyoming took the two point lead, 8-6, by scoring four of the next six points. Three straight from Arizona State gave them a one point advantage, 9-8, which was answered with a 5-2 run by the Cowgirls putting them up 13-11. The Sun Devils charged back with a 4-0 run of their own to retake the lead 15-13. A kill from Bridget Shanahan stopped Wyoming scoring drought but Arizona State regained the lead quickly, 19-15, by scoring the next four of five. The Cowgirls continued to battle back as another kill by Shanahan started a 4-1 run to pull them to within one, 20-19. After ASU earned the next point, Wyoming wouldn't go away as they clawed their way back with a 5-2 run to earn set point, 24-22. The Sun Devils responded with two unanswered to even it all up at 24. The Cowgirls maintained their composure and with two straight kills by Jodi Purdy and Reese Plante they forced a fifth set with a 26-24 win.
Wyoming got it going with a Camille Coffman kill in the fifth set as that started a 4-0 run. Arizona State ended it with two scores, which was answered by scoring five of six to extend their lead to six, 9-3. They would maintain a four to five point lead, but the Sun Devils wouldn't go down without a fight. They closed the margin to three, 13-10, which was as close as they would get. The Cowgirls scored the final two of three points, which included a triple block on the last play to earn the 15-11 win in the set and a 3-2 victory in the match.
Four Cowgirls finished the match in double-figures led by senior Camille Coffman. She had a team high 12 kills along with six block assists and 15 points. Jodi Purdy followed with 11 kills, seven digs and a career high seven total blocks, while Reese Plante and Bridget Shanahan each added ten kills each. Plante also hit .692 (10-1-13) and recorded seven blocks. Junior libero Becky Stewart had a career match with 33 digs. Wyoming hit .226 (52-17-155) for the match, while recording a season high 17.5 total blocks.
It was a struggle to begin the second match of the day against the College of Charleston. The Cougars opened up the first set with an early 6-1 lead. Two errors from the College of Charleston ended the scoring run and made it 6-3. Unfortunately, CofC ran of seven straight points to extend the lead to double-figures, 13-3. A bad set led to the Cowgirls next point, but the Cougars scored seven of the next nine to increase their advantage to 14, 20-6. Despite outscoring their opponent 9-5 down the stretch, Wyoming fell in the first set 25-15.
The Cowgirls tried to shift the momentum in the second set as they scored six of the first nine points to go up 6-3. Over the next several points, they would maintain a two to three point lead until four straight by College of Charleston gave them their first lead of the set 10-9. Wyoming evened it up at 11 all which was answered with a 6-4 run by the Cougars to give them a 17-15 advantage. Wyoming would chip away at the lead started by a Jodi Purdy kill and a couple of errors by CofC they evened up the score at 21 all. It would be a battle of wills for the remainder of the game as neither team could gain the upper hand. The teams traded the next couple of points until a kill by Calli Miller gave the Cowgirls their first set point, 24-23. Emily Neideffer put down the kill to hold off the set winner. Two players would score the next six points in order to determine the set. Camille Coffman earned the second set point for UW, 25-24, followed by a kill from the Cougars Darcy Dorton. The next two points were that way as well. With the score all tied up at 26, Dorton served the ball into the net giving the Cowgirls their fourth set point opportunity. With Coffman back to serve, she would get a service ace to give Wyoming a 28-26 win in the set.
It was all even through the first ten points of the fourth set until a kill by Reese Plante and two points from Jodi Purdy made the score 8-5 in favor of Wyoming. Over the next several points, they maintained a couple of point lead until a 6-1 run from the Cougars gave them a one point advantage, 14-13. With the score 16-14 in favor of College of Charleston, three straight points by UW put them back ahead 17-16. Unfortunately that would be as close as they would get as they were outscored 9-4 the remainder of the set to fall 25-21.
In the fourth set, the score was fast and furious as the two teams were all tied up at six. The College of Charleston would run off the next eight of ten to give themselves a 14-8 lead. The Cowgirls chipped away at the lead with a 6-0 run to even the score at 14 led by a number of players. The Cougars responded with six unanswered to put them ahead 20-15. Wyoming would climb their way back into it and even it up at 24 all earning set point 25-24. Unfortunately, the Cougars scored the final two points to win the set 27-25 and the match 3-1.
Jodi Purdy led the way for the Cowgirls with a team high 13 kills and eight digs. She was followed by Camille Coffman with eight and Reese Plante with six. Becky Stewart followed up her 33 dig performance with a team high 31. The Cowgirls struggled hitting only .146 (46-21-171) and recording nine total team blocks.
Wyoming will close out the weekend tomorrow with one single match. They will face the Kansas Jayhawks beginning at 5:30 p.m. MT