The University of Wyoming Cowgirl volleyball team picked up its second tournament title of the young season and wrapped up the nonconference schedule with a 10-2 mark on Friday night. The Cowgirls clinched the Wyoming Invite crown by topping the Pepperdine Waves in three-straight sets. UW defeated Idaho State and McNeese State as well en route to the weekend sweep.
Wyoming gutted out a five-set win against McNeese State in the first match of the day. UW put forth a gritty effort and escaped behind scores of 19-25, 25-12, 16-25, 25-14 and 15-13 for the second five-set victory of the season.
“I think this team has a lot of heart,” UW head coach Chad Callihan said. “”They have goals and we talk a lot about obtaining them. I have to give them a lot of credit for continuing to fight. We have to be able to have other players step in and battle for us, this was a match we felt we needed to win. Although it wasn’t as pretty as we had hoped, our defensive intensity picked up at the end and helped us pull through.”
Bridget Shanahan and Kayla Slofkiss each blistered 11 kills to lead the team. Slofkiss accounted for 12 digs as well for what at the time was her team-leading fifth double-double of the season. Emily Hines was the third Cowgirl with double-digit kills against McNeese State, as she finished with 10. It was the second time this season Hines finished in double-digit kills.
Courtney Chacon tied a career-high with four service aces to lead Wyoming for the fourth time this season. Inching toward 2,000 assists for her career, Chacon had 26 against McNeese State, which before tonight’s match against Pepperdine became the fifth match out of the last six that she has recorded 20-plus assists.
The Cowgirls found themselves in a dogfight throughout the match. UW got out to a slow start against McNeese State by dropping the first set. Behind excellent serving from Chacon, the Cowgirls managed 10-straight points to close the second set and tie the match at one. McNeese State came out firing after intermission and took the third set before Wyoming dominated the fourth, 25-14. A clutch service ace from Chacon late in the fifth set helped momentum swing Wyoming’s way before sealing the victory.
In the nightcap against Pepperdine, Slofkiss recorded her second double-double of the day and sixth of the year to pace the Cowgirl attack with 12 kills, to go along with 10 digs. Shanahan added 10 kills for UW, as Beach contributed eight with two service aces. Freshman Mattison DeGarmo finished the day off with a new career-high in kills. She had five against the Waves.
Chacon and Aafedt ran the offense again for Wyoming, as they each recorded double-digit assists. Chacon had a team-high 19, with Aafedt adding 15. Waldvogel was the second Cowgirl in double-digit digs with 15.
Four kills each from Shanahan and Beach in the first set got the Cowgirls rolling. Slofkiss added four of her digs as Wyoming battled Pepperdine to take the first set. Waldvogel had four digs in the second set, as Slofkiss had five kills in both the second and third set. In final frame, Waldvogel posted superb defense with ten digs while a kill from Shanahan clinched the match and tournament title for the Cowgirls.
“We are very pleased with where we stand at this point in the season,” Callihan added. “We will take a day or two to relax and enjoy what we’ve accomplished. The match with Shanghai will be a fun environment for everyone. I’m hoping we get to see several faces on the court that day to use as an opportunity to get some experience and then we’ll be back at it on Monday.”
Slofkiss finished the weekend with 36 kills, as Shanahan and Beach had 30 apiece. Hines had 20 kills, with Copeland and DeGarmo each contributing ten. Chacon led UW with 72 assists, as Aafedt had 43 during the Wyoming Invite. Beach had 12 total blocks for the Cowgirls over the weekend. As Copeland and Slofkiss also finished in double digits with 11 and ten, respectively. Waldvogel had a team-high 44 digs over the weekend. Slofkiss was next in line with 31, as Lily Austin had 27 during the three matches.
Beach was named the Most Valubale Player this weekend and found herself on yet another All-Tournament Team. It was her fourth time being honored in as many weeks. Waldvogel claimed her second All-Tournament honors, as Shanahan was named for the first time this season.
Wyoming Invite All-Tournament Team
Laura Beach, Wyoming - MVP
Allison Waldvogel, Wyoming
Bridget Shanahan, Wyoming
Chloe Hirst, Idaho State
Hayley Farrer, Idaho State
Malina Sanchez, McNeese State
Becca Strehlow, Pepperdine
The final match of the Wyoming Invite will be held tomorrow morning. McNeese State will face Pepperdine at 10 a.m. The Cowgirls will be back in action Sunday in an exhibition against the Shanghai Eastbest Lansheng Volleyball Club. The match will begin at 2 p.m., in the UniWyo Sports Complex. Mountain West play starts this week as the Cowgirls battle Boise State on Thursday and Utah State on Saturday. First serve is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. each night.