Sept. 9, 2011
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowgirl Volleyball Team (6-3 overall) opened up the first day of the UniWyo Cowgirl Classic with two victories. They swept both the Illinois State Redbirds (6-4 overall) and the Georgia State Panthers (4-6 overall) in three sets on Friday in Laramie. They defeated Illinois State by scores of 25-16, 25-14, 25-23 and Georgia State, 25-15, 25-19, 28-26.
It was a battle early against Illinois State as the two teams were all tied up at six through the first 12 points. Wyoming scored the next three points to make it 9-6. After Illinois State scored the next point, the Cowgirls ran off seven straight to give them a nine-point advantage, 16-7. They would extend that to double-figures to make it 18-8. The Redbirds answered with a 5-1 run to pull within six, 19-13. Wyoming would close out the set scoring six of nine points to win 25-16.
The momentum carried over into the second set as the Cowgirls went up 7-1. Illinois State scored two points to end the run, but Wyoming ran off six of seven points to extend the lead to nine, 13-4. The two teams played evenly over the next several points as Wyoming continued to lead, 16-8. Their lead was never in jeopardy as they won the second set, 25-14, to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
In the third set, Illinois State took a small 4-2 lead. Wyoming answered with six straight points to go up 8-4. The Redbirds battled back with six of their own to regain a 10-8 lead. The Cowgirls evened it up at ten and then the two teams traded scores. With it all tied up at 14, UW scored three points to gain a slight 17-14 advantage. ISU responded with a 5-2 run which tied it up at 19 all. Wyoming kept their composure and closed out the set on a 6-4 run to take it 25-23 and the match 3-0.
Jodi Purdy led the team in kills with 14, while hitting .310 (14-5-29) for the match. Erin Kirby added nine kills and hit a team high .750 (9-0-12), while Calli Miller added seven kills. Sophomore Becky Stewart recorded a team high nine digs, while Makenzie Bartsch finished with five total blocks. The Cowgirls hit .361 (41-11-83) and out blocked the Redbirds 5-4.
Illinois State was led by LeighAnn Hranka with 15 kills and a .265 (15-6-34) hitting percentage. Two other players each finished with four kills, while Jenny Menendez had a team high eight digs. The Redbirds hit .098 (32-23-92) for the match.
"It was an excellent performance against Illinois State today," said head coach Carrie Yerty. "I was excited for Makenzie (Bartsch) to have the opportunity to start and play well when she did. We did a nice job winning the first two sets then coming out in the third and maintaining. We knew they would come out in the third set and play us tough. Overall, I was pleased with the performance and our numbers.
The Cowgirls started off the match with a spark against Georgia State as they scored the first six points to make it 6-0. They would extend it to 10-3, but the Panthers would chip into the lead to pull within five, 14-9. Wyoming responded with a 6-1 run to regain a double-figure lead, 20-10. The teams played even the remainder of the way as the Cowgirls won the set, 25-15.
It was back and forth to begin the second set until Wyoming took a slight 5-3 lead. They would maintain a one to two point lead over the next several points. Finally, the Cowgirls would gain a little momentum and went up by four, 14-10. The Panthers would score three of four to pull within two, 15-13. The Cowgirls answered with a 5-1 run to extend their advantage back to six, 20-14. Despite a good battle from Georgia State, Wyoming held on to win the set, 25-19, to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Georgia State came out fired up in the third set to earn a 7-1 advantage. They continued to maintain that lead as the Cowgirls struggled offensively. With the score 17-9 in favor of the Panthers, Wyoming ran off 8 of 11 points to pull within three, 20-17. After GSU ended the run, the Cowgirls scored six straight to make it 23-21. Georgia State wouldn't go away as they went on a 3-1 run to tie it up at 24 all. Wyoming would hold off one set point and the Panthers two match points until the Cowgirls finally won the set 28-26 and the match 3-0.
Wyoming was led by Erin Kirby who finished with ten kills and a .500 (10-2-16) hitting percentage. Jodi Purdy also finished with ten kills and 11 digs. The Cowgirls hit .252 (41-51-103) for the match and out blocked Georgia State, 6.5-3.0. The Panthers were led by Jamie Freeman with 12 kills and nine digs, while Vineece Verdun added ten kills. GSU hit .102 (36-25-108) for the match.
"I thought we showed great character coming back in the third set," said head coach Carrie Yerty. "When it came down to crunch time, we relied on their strengths, which was blocking game. They absolutely followed the game plan and did a great job. Erin Kirby was solid from the beginning. I also think Rachel Keyes has had a solid tournament so far. This is the first time she's run a 5-1 and is really holding her own in the front row."
Wyoming will close out the weekend tomorrow as they host the Idaho State Bengals in the final match. It's set to begin at 1:00 p.m. in the UniWyo Sports Complex.