GREELEY, Colo. -
Senior Erin Kirby notched six blocks Friday against UC Davis to become the University of Wyoming volleyball team's all-time leader in the category and lead the Cowgirls (10-1) to a four-set win (26-24, 25-16, 23-25, 25-10) over the Aggies in the opening game of the Hampton Inn and Suites UNC Classic. Kirby's 621 career blocks move her past Melody Friehauf's 618 from 1997-2000, as she helped the Cowgirls to slim victories in the first two sets before dominating the fourth set for the win.
Three Cowgirls finished the night in double-figure kills led by junior Kayla Henderson. She tied her career high with 13 kills while recording four blocks and hitting .500 (13-2-22) for the match. Bridget Shanahan finished with 12 kills followed by Laura Beach with 11. Kayla Slofkiss had a team high 11 digs and Courtney Chacon finished the night with 44 assists. Wyoming hit .319 (54-16-119) and had eight total blocks.
UC Davis was led by Kaylin Squyres with 18 kills while two other players finished with eight kills. Allie Wegener recorded 12 digs followed by Megan Lancaster with 11. The Aggies hit .142 (48-29-134) for the match.
"I think we came out a little sluggish but then played well in spurts during the match," head coach Chad Callihan said. "We need to find a way to be consistent from the first whistle to the end of the match. Once we figure that out, we can feel better about the way we are playing.
"Congratulations to Erin Kirby. She did a fantastic job tonight and throughout her career. Blocking is not always the most glamorous skill but has a huge impact on a match. So much of that is the want to go and get the ball and she exhibits that night in and night out. I'm happy for her to accomplish that."
It was back and forth early to begin the match between the two teams. With the score 5-4 in favor of the Aggies, the Cowgirls recorded three of the next four points to take the 7-6 lead. UC Davis answered back with a 4-1 run to regain a 10-8 advantage. After a UW timeout, they would chip away and even up the score at 11. The Aggies took the lead back at 14-12, which the Cowgirls responded with five straight points to give them a 17-14 advantage. UCD closed the gap to even up the score at 18 all. With it all tied up at 20 all, a kill and block assist gave the Cowgirls a 23-21 advantage. Not to be outdone, the Aggies scored three of the next four to even it up at 24 all. A kill by Beach and service ace by Chacon gave UW the first set, 26-24.
The second set was a battle from the beginning with neither team taking a significant lead. With the score all knotted up at nine, the Cowgirls ran off seven of the next nine to gain a six-point lead, 16-10. A service error by UW ended the scoring stretch, but the Cowgirls extended the lead to nine, 21-12. Wyoming hit an impressive .426 (13-1-26) for the set.
Wyoming carried that momentum over to the third set by scoring the first three points and then building a 9-6 lead. The Aggies battled back with four of the next five to tie it up at ten all. After a kill by Beach, UC Davis scored eight unanswered to take a commanding 18-11 lead. Finally, an attack error by Kendall Walbrecht ended the scoring run by the Aggies. Wyoming used that point to close the gap to three, 21-18. Two points by UC Davis made it 23-18, but the Cowgirls pulled to within one, 23-22. Unfortunately, Wyoming could only hold off one set point as it would fall 25-23 in set three.
The Aggies took the early 3-1 to begin the fourth set. Wyoming stormed back with a 12-2 run including a stretch of four unanswered to pull ahead by eight, 13-5. During that scoring run, Kirby would record another block and become the all-time leader in blocks with 619. Out of a UC-Davis timeout, they scored two straight points to make it 13-7. Wyoming played solid defense down the stretch as they held the Aggies to three points the remainder of the set. The Cowgirls took set four, 25-10, and the match 3-1.
The Cowgirls close out the tournament Saturday with two matches. Wyoming will take on the Hampton Pirates at 10 a.m. MT and the Northern Colorado Bears at 7 p.m. Both matches will be played at Butler-Hancock Arena in Greeley.