Cowgirl Volleyball Earns Split With UC Riverside and Utah Valley

Sept. 20, 2013

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

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The Wyoming Cowgirl volleyball team (8-5 overall) split a pair of non-conference matches at Air Force on Friday. UW defeated UC Riverside (1-9 overall) in four-sets (25-23, 25-13, 21-25, 25-15) to open the day. The Cowgirls fell in the night cap to Utah Valley (5-8 overall) in four-sets (16-25, 17-25, 25-21, 17-25). Erin Kirby led Wyoming on the day with 17 kills and 16 blocks, as the leading blocker in the nation has recorded 99 on the season.

"I thought we did a great job starting today, but we struggled to maintain that consistency," said head coach Chad Callihan. "We need to be able to sustain consistent level of play in order to continue growing as a team."

Kirby led the Cowgirls with a career-high 13 blocks, as Wyoming defeated UC Riverside in four-sets (25-23, 25-13, 21-25, 25-15) to open play on Friday. Wyoming used a 6-0 run to open the fourth and deciding set on their way to the 3-1 win. UW finished the day with 17 total blocks, as Cowgirls outhit UC Riverside .200 (45-18-135) to .059 (47-38-152) in the first ever meeting between the schools.

Kirby ended the contest with 13 blocks, a new career-high. Kirby recorded two solo blocks to go along with 11 blocking assists. The middle blocker also chipped in offensively, adding eight kills.

Senior middle blocker Reese Plante led UW offensively with 10 kills, hitting at a .450 (10-1-20) clip. Freshman setter Courtney Chacon added her sixth double-double of the season with 35 assists and 12 digs. Senior libero Becky Stewart, the Cowgirls' career leader in digs, added a team-high 13.

Wyoming looked to be in control in the opening set, holding a lead as large as 10 at 18-8. The Highlanders battled back using a pair of runs to the deficit one at 21-20. UC Riverside also cut the lead back to one at 23-22, but a pair of kills late in the frame by Kirby and redshirt freshman outside hitter Mikaela Ryshytyloended the set as UW took the frame 25-23.

The Cowgirls dominated the second stanza, hitting a game-high .321 (12-3-28) as UW took the set 25-13. Wyoming recorded six total blocks in the set and forced nine UC Riverside errors. Plante recorded five kills in the second frame, hitting an impressive .571 (5-1-7) to lift UW to a 2-0 advantage in the match.

UC Riverside forced a fourth set after taking the third-set 25-21. The third-frame was a back-and-forth affair until the Highlanders used a seven point run to take a 23-17 lead. UW could not recover from the run as the Cowgirls hit a match-low .061 (10-8-33) in the set.

UW raced out to an early 6-0 lead in the fourth set by forcing three attacking errors by the Highlanders to highlight the early run. The Cowgirls controlled the rest of the set from that point, as freshman outside hitter Kayla Slofkiss recorded five kills in the frame to help Wyoming down the Highlanders 25-15 and take the match 3-1.

Utah Valley used a 19-0 run between the end of the first set and the beginning of the second set on their way to a four-set victory over Wyoming in Friday's nightcap. UVU outhit the Cowgirls, .271 (47-15-118) to .147 (48-28-136) on the night.

Sophomore outside hitter Bridget Shanahan led Wyoming offensively with 12 kills. Kirby added nine kills, hitting an impressive .421 (9-1-19). Stewart added 23 digs to lead the UW defense, as she recorded her 13th double-digit dig total of the season and 67th of her career.

The Wolverines were led by Kalani Norris, as she recorded a team-high 11 kills. McKenna Tait added a match-high five services aces to go along with a team-high 22 digs.

Neither team could get an advantage early in the opening set. Utah Valley made the first move making a three-point run to gain separation from the Cowgirls at 16-13. After a short run by UW to pull within three at 19-16, the Wolverines closed out the first-set on a 6-0 run to take the stanza 25-16.Utah Valley recorded seven total blocks in the opening frame, finishing with nine total blocks in the match.

The Wolverines continued their roll from the end of the opening set, as UVU jumped out to a 13-0 lead on the Cowgirls in the second frame. Utah Valley continued to put pressure on Wyoming in the set hitting .308 (11-3-26) on their way to a 25-17 win in the frame. UW struggled offensively in the first two sets with a hitting percentage of .043 (21-18-69).

Utah Valley got off to another fast start in the third-set jumping out to a 5-2 lead. Wyoming battled back to take the lead at 13-12, as it was the Cowgirls' first lead since the opening set. UW built it's largest lead of the match at 19-15, but the deficit was quickly erased, as UVU tied the frame at 19-19. The Cowgirls answered back with a run of their own, as senior outside hitter Calli Fry record a key blocking assist and kill to give UW a 25-21 win.

Wyoming controlled the pace early in the fourth-set, but Utah Valley took their first lead of the frame at 10-9. UVU gained more ground later in the stanza with their largest lead of the frame at 17-12. The Wolverines continued their momentum the rest of the way taking the final set 25-17 and the match 3-1.

The Cowgirls return to Mountain West play next week, as UW heads to New Mexico and Air Force.