Cowgirl Volleyball Falls in Five against Top Ranked Utah

Oct. 14, 2006


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After winning the first two games of the match, the Wyoming Cowgirl Volleyball team (8-10 overall, 2-6) ended up with a disappointing five game loss (30-27, 30-28, 20-30, 26-30, 8-15) against the 12th ranked Utah Utes (17-2 overall, 8-0 in the MWC) on Saturday night in Laramie.

Two Cowgirls finished the match in double-figures including junior Rachel Smith. She recorded a match high 21 kills along with 14 digs. Outside hitter Angie Hellbaum followed with ten, while two other players had seven kills. Samantha Eley led the way with a career high 28 digs, while Annie Meyers finished with 17, Smith and Carissa Lee had 14 each. As a team, the Cowgirls hit .081 (61-41-246) and recorded 12 total team blocks.

Five Utah players finished the night in double-digits, including Kate Robison with 17 kills and 18 digs off the bench. Whitney Webb had 16 kills and a match high 26 digs. Airial Salvo had 14 kills while two other players finished with 11. The Utes hit .189 (75-35-212) and had 27 total team blocks on the night.

"I would rather be sitting here saying we lost in five to both BYU and Utah than to have been blown out," said head coach Pat Stangle. "We talk about improvement and sometimes it doesn't always show up on the scoreboard, but I feel like we did that this week.

"I thought we played well in both games one and two, they came out in game three and went on a run and from that point I felt like both teams played pretty evenly. They're 12th in the country for a reason. These two five game losses are a lot different from the other ones. It's disappointing that we lost, but we're definitely getting better."

Wyoming got off to a good start by taking a 6-3 lead in game one. Utah responded with a 6-4 run to pull within one, 10-9. The Cowgirls came back scoring the next 10 of 16 to go up 20-15. The Utes answered with another 7-3 run to make it a 23-22 game. Wyoming kept their composure and closed it out on a 7-5 run to take game one, 30-27.

In game two, the Cowgirls once again took a 4-1 lead but Utah scored three straight to tie it up at four all. UW would score the next 5 of 7 to go up three, 9-6. The Utes came back with a 5-1 run to even it up at 11, which Wyoming responded with a 5-3 run of their own to go up 16-14. Utah quickly tied it up and the two teams traded a couple of points. With it all tied up at 18, the Cowgirls scored 6 of 8 to make it a four point game 24-20. The Utes wouldn't go away as they scored four straight to tie it up at 24. Wyoming hung tough and battled to win the game 30-28.

Utah dominated the third game as they took a 12-3 lead, which included a run of six straight points. They would increase that lead to double-figures as the Cowgirls struggled offensively. Despite being down, Wyoming managed a small comeback to pull within nine. But in the end the Utes would win the game 30-20.

Wyoming started off well in the fourth game as they took a four-point lead, 10-6. Utah responded with a 5-1 run to tie it up at 11. Two quick points by Wyoming gave them a small lead but the Utes went on a 9-4 run to make it 20-16. The Cowgirls pulled to within three, 23-20, but the Utes held on to win the game 30-26 to force a fifth and deciding game.

Utah jumped out to a 6-1 advantage in game five, but Wyoming battled back with a 4-1 run to pull within two, 7-5. They would eventually make it a one point game, 8-7, but Utah out scored them 7-1 the remainder of the way to win the game 15-8 and the match 3-2.

The Cowgirls will be on the road next week for one match. They will take on the Northern Colorado Bears, Wednesday, Oct. 18, in Greeley. The match is set to begin at 7:00 p.m.