Sep 6, 2013
HARRISONBURG, Va. -
The Wyoming Cowgirl Volleyball Team (5-0 overall) remained undefeated as they opened up the 2013 JMU Classic with a four set win (25-15, 25-22, 23-25, 25-20) over the James Madison Dukes (1-3 overall) on Friday night in Harrisonburg. The start is the best for a first year head coach since Jim Barnes who started 4-0 in 2002.
"It was a nice to see the team battle in a hostile environment on the road," said head coach Chad Callihan. "James Madison is a great team and I knew they weren't going to quit after we went up 2-0. It was good to see our kids continue to battle and not let the match get away."
Three Cowgirls finished the night in double-figures led by Bridget Shanahan and Mikaela Ryshytylo. Shanahan finished with a career high 15 kills while hitting .286 (15-5-35), while Ryshytylo recorded 15 kills and 13 digs on the night. Reese Plante followed with 13 kills and a .500 hitting percentage. Libero Becky Stewart also added 20 digs on the night. Wyoming hit .294 (57-15-143) on the night and had 9.5 total team blocks.
JMU was led by Lizzy Briones with a match high 16 kills and a .519 (16-2-27) hitting percentage. She was followed by Meghan Niski with 12 kills and ten digs. The Dukes hit .235 (61-22-166) for the match.
Wyoming built an early 6-3 lead to begin the first set behind three kills by Ryshytylo and some good defense. They would increase that margin to five, 10-5, but the Dukes scored four of the next five to make it a two point set, 11-9. An attack error by JMU ended the run and would begin a 6-4 run for the Cowgirls putting them ahead by four, 17-13. Out of a timeout, UW scored five unanswered led by the hot hand of Plante and Shanahan to make it a nine point advantage, 22-13. A kill by Meghan Niski stopped the Dukes drought which was answered by the Cowgirls scoring the last three of four points to win the set 25-15. Wyoming hit .536 (16-1-28) for the set and were led by Shanahan with six kills.
It was all even through the first six points of the second set until JMU scored consecutive points to go ahead by two, 5-3. Their lead would grow to four, 9-5, with a 4-1 run. Started by a Shanahan kill, the Cowgirls battled back scoring six of the next eight to tie the score at 11 all. The Dukes would respond by building the lead back to three, 16-13, which was answered by a 5-1 Wyoming run to regain the lead by one, 18-17. JMU scored on the next side out and the two teams traded the next couple of points until a couple of kills by Kirby and Ryshytylo put UW up 21-19. The Dukes closed to within one, but Wyoming scored the final four of five to take the set 25-22, and a 2-0 lead in the match.
In the third set, a kill and block assist by James Madison put them up 2-0 in the early going. Three straight points by UW including a service ace by Plante gave them their first lead 3-2. The Dukes regained a small one point lead, 4-3, which was answered by the Cowgirls with an 8-2 run to build the lead back to five, 11-6. A kill by Niski ended the run and the Dukes would climb their way back in it closing the gap to three, 14-11. With the score 16-12 in favor of the Cowgirls, James Madison rallied with four straight points to tie the score at 16 all. A kill from Kirby gave UW a one point lead which was followed by a service error by Ryshytylo making it 17 all. The lead went back and forth until JMU scored back to back points giving them a 22-20 advantage. Wyoming overcame the two point deficit to make it 22 all, but couldn't close out the set as the Dukes came out on top 25-23.
The Cowgirls gained the upper hand in the fourth set as they took a 9-5 advantage through the first 14 points. After a JMU timeout, a kill by Kristi Richardson ended their scoring drought, but Wyoming scored seven straight to increase the lead to double-figures, 16-6. Two kills by Kate Whitmire stopped the run and the Dukes cut into the lead, 18-13, with a 6-2 run. Over the next several points, the Cowgirls regained an eight point lead, 23-15, scoring five of the next seven points. James Madison battled back to within three, 23-20, but Wyoming kept their composure closing it out with kills from Plante and Ryshytylo to win the set 25-20 and the match 3-1.
The Cowgirls will close out the tournament tomorrow with two matches. They will face the Presbyterian Blue Hose beginning at 8:00 a.m. MT followed by CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners set for 3:00 p.m. MT.