LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming volleyball team (8-1 overall) rebounded from last night's loss with a three-set (25-21, 25-20, 25-11) victory over the Weber State Wildcats (2-8 overall) and a four-set win (25-17, 25-19, 29-27, 25-9) against the Furman Paladins (6-4 overall), on Saturday to take home the UniWyo Wyoming Invite title. Kayla Slofkiss was named the tournament MVP while Erin Kirby and Laura Beach were each selected to the All-Tournament Team.
"We just weren't great last night and I give Gonzaga a ton of credit. They had a lot of big blocks on us, stressed us early and we never recovered from it," head coach Chad Callihan. "This morning against Weber State, we were still a little bit timid, sluggish maybe a hangover from last night and we weren't sure what we were going to get tonight. I loved our performance it was one of our best blocking matches of the season. Once we get that going our offense seems to do pretty well. We swung smarter and had good pace on the ball, but it was the right shot and what was open. It was just a good all-around effort and I'm proud of the group."
The Cowgirls opened up the match against Weber State with four straight points. The Wildcats answered with a 7-4 run to pull to within one, 8-7. Started by an attack error by WSU, Wyoming would extend the lead back to four, 13-9. The teams traded the next couple of scores until the Wildcats pulled even at 15 all. After UW scored the next points, Weber State ran off the next four of five to go up for the first time in the set 19-17. The Cowgirls seemed to regroup in timeout as they came out and scored four unanswered to go back up 21-19. Wyoming would win the first set, 25-21, despite hitting .094 (9-6-32).
A kill by Amanda Varley put the Wildcats on the board first in the second set, which was answered by a 6-2 run by Wyoming to make it 6-3. The Wildcats scored on the next side out to make it a two point set, 6-4. The Cowgirls ran off five straight points to extend the lead to seven, 11-4. Over the next 16 points, Wyoming continued to maintain their seven-point advantage, 19-12. The Wildcats would out score the Cowgirls 8-6 the remainder of the set, but UW held on to win 25-20 to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
In the third set, Weber State scored the first two points followed by a 9-1 run by the Cowgirls to give them a 9-3 advantage. After a point from the Wildcats, UW scored 9 of 13 to give them a double-figure lead, 18-7. Wyoming held Weber State to only four points the remainder of the set as they won 25-11 and the match 3-0.
The Cowgirls were led by Slofkiss with 11 kills followed by Beach with seven kills and a .308 (7-3-13) hitting percentage. UW hit .210 (34-17-81) for the match and had five total team blocks. Weber State was led by Varley with eight kills followed by Samantha Staker with seven kills. The Wildcats hit .102 (32-23-88) on the afternoon.
In the second match of the day, Furman scored the first four of five points to take the early lead, 4-1. The Cowgirls responded with a small run to even it up at five all. The teams went back and forth over the next several points until Wyoming gained a 13-10 advantage. After a point by the Paladins, the Cowgirls increased the lead to seven, 19-12, with a 6-1 run. Furman tried chip away at the deficit but was only able to pull within five, 21-16. Wyoming went on to take the first set 25-17. The Cowgirls hit .419 (16-3-31) for the set and had four total team blocks.
Wyoming took a commanding 9-2 lead to begin the second set. An attack error by UW ended the scoreless stretch for the Paladins and they would pull to within five, 12-7. With the score 14-8 in favor of the Cowgirls, Furman scored five straight to make it a one point set, 14-13. Out of a timeout, three straight points by UW put them ahead, 17-13. The Paladins rallied off another five unanswered to take their first lead of the set, 18-17. The Cowgirls responded with an 8-1 run to close out the set to win 25-19 and take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Momentum stayed on the side of the Cowgirls as they scored the first five points of set three. Furman stormed back by scoring eight of the next ten to go up by one, 8-7. A kill by Shanahan evened up the score and the two teams traded the next several points until a 5-1 run by the Paladins gave them the lead, 16-12. Shanahan recorded a kill to stop the Furman scoring, but the Paladins continued to hold the lead. With the score 20-16 in favor of Furman, the Cowgirls recorded five unanswered to take a one point advantage, 21-20. Three straight points by the Paladins gave them the upper hand, 23-21 in the set. UW showed a lot of fight scoring four of the next five to earn match point, 25-24. Furman fought that off and earned three set points before winning 29-27.
The Cowgirls responded in the fourth set by jumping out to a 9-1 lead. Furman scored four of the next seven to pull within seven, 12-5. Wyoming ran off five straight to make it a double-figure lead, 17-5. The Paladins were only able to score four more points in the set as the Cowgirls took the set 25-9 and the match 3-1.
Three Cowgirls finished the match in double-figures led by Shanahan with 16 kills plus two total blocks. Slofkiss recorded 14 kills, four digs and three total blocks followed by Erin Kirby with 11 kills, nine total blocks and a .500 (11-0-22) hitting percentage. Wyoming hit .286 (59-21-133) for the match and out blocked Furman 15-8.
The Paladins were led by Ashton Gregory with 17 kills, six total blocks and a .364 (17-5-33) hitting spot. Andrea Fisher recorded 11 kills while Meg DeMaar had 16 digs. Furman hit .092 (43-31-130) for the match.
Wyoming will be on the road next week for their final preseason tournament. The Cowgirls will play three matches at the Hampton Inn and Suites UNC Classic, Fri.-Sat., Sept. 19-20, in Greeley, Colo.