Kirby Makes History as Cowgirl Volleyball Defeats Lobos in Four Sets

Oct. 18, 2014 ALBUQUERQUE, N.M -

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With six blocks for the match, senior Erin Kirby became the all-time Mountain West leader in that category and led the Wyoming volleyball team (16-5, 5-3 MW) to a four-set victory (26-24, 28-26, 22-25, 25-18) over the New Mexico Lobos (11-9, 4-4 MW) on Saturday. Her 672 career blocks move her past Utah's Kim Turner (2000-03) with 670.

Bridget Shanahan recorded a team high 16 kills for the Cowgirls while Kirby and sophomore Laura Beach each finished with 14 kills. Beach hit a match high .371 (14-1-35) followed by Kirby with a .367 (14-3-30) hitting percentage. Sophomores Kayla Slofkiss and Courtney Chacon recorded career highs in digs with 22 while Allison Waldvogel added 21 digs. Wyoming hit .192 (62-23-203) for the match and a season-high 94 digs.

New Mexico was led by Devanne Sours with a match-high 18 kills while hitting .333 (18-4-42) on the afternoon. Chantale Riddle recorded 14 kills and 19 digs. Julia Warren and Stephanie Chavez also finished with 19 digs. The Lobos hit .155 (55-26-187) for the match and out blocked the Cowgirls 12-8.

The teams traded scores to begin the match until a 6-2 run from the Lobos gave them an 8-4 lead. A kill by Kayla Henderson got the Cowgirls back in the scoring column but New Mexico built the lead back up to six, 12-6. The Cowgirls chipped away at the deficit and scored the next eight of 11 to even up the score at 15 all. UNM responded by regaining a 19-17 lead. Out of a timeout, a Kirby kill started a four-point run from UW to pull them ahead by two, 21-19. New Mexico battled back and went ahead by one, 23-22, and eventually earned set point, 24-23. A service error by Maggie Mayfield tied the score up at 24. Followed by a kill by Kirby and a block assist by the Cowgirls gave them the first set, 26-24.

Wyoming carried that momentum over into the second set as it built up a 9-4 advantage. A kill by Cassie House got the Lobos back in the scoring column and started a 5-3 run to close the gap to three, 12-9. The Cowgirls responded with five of the next eight points to make the score 17-12. New Mexico chipped away at the Wyoming lead and closed to within one, 22-21. An attack error by UNM and a kill by Kirby gave the Cowgirls set point, 24-22. The Lobos held off four set points and even gained one, 26-25. Three straight kills from Shanahan gave Wyoming the set, 28-26, and a 2-0 lead in the match.

In the third set, it was back and forth between the two teams. With the score all even at five, the Cowgirls scored six of the next nine points to pull ahead 11-8. Out of a Lobo timeout, a kill by Sours started a 7-2 run from New Mexico to give it the 15-13 lead. It would be a lead that the Lobos would never relinquish as the Cowgirls were only able to pull to within one, 16-15. UNM took set three 25-22 to force a fourth set.

New Mexico took the early 5-4 lead to begin the fourth set which was answered by a 4-1 run by the Cowgirls to give them an 8-6 lead. A kill by Gullatt ended the Lobo scoring slump, but Wyoming scored eight of 11 to increase the lead to six, 16-10. New Mexico closed the gap to three, 16-13. The Cowgirls kept their composure closing out the set on an 8-5 run to win the set, 25-18, and the match 3-1.

The Cowgirls will return home next week with two MW contests. The Utah State Aggies will make an appearance on Thursday followed by the Boise State Broncos on Saturday. The Thursday night match is set for 7 p.m. MT followed by a 2 p.m. start on Saturday in the UniWyo Sports Complex.