LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Behind a career-high night from Laura Beach, the Wyoming volleyball team (17-5, 6-3 MW) won in four-sets (25-15, 24-26, 25-14, 25-23) over the Utah State Aggies (9-10, 5-4 MW) on Thursday night in Laramie.
"Tonight was eerily similar of our match in Logan. The only difference is they didn't quite come all the way back to win the match," head coach Chad Callihan. "There is something about Utah State that gives us a tough go. They are a good, well-disciplined team and this was a nice win for us. We were much better on the block tonight, getting up on time from the previous meeting with them which was a point of emphasis for us. It was nice to see us make the adjustment in practice and carry it over into the match."
Beach, a sophomore middle blocker, recorded a career high 16 kills and ten blocks while hitting .500 (.16-2-28) for the match. Senior Erin Kirby followed with 14 kills, five blocks and a team-high .565 (14-1-23) hitting percentage. Kayla Slofkiss had a match-high 21 digs while Courtney Chacon and Allison Waldvogel each added 15 digs. The Cowgirls hit .307 (55-12-140) on the night and had a season-high 18 blocks.
"We talked in pregame that they had three players that could produce points for them and if we could slow them down it puts pressure on the others. We feel we have five players that we can go to and have a big night depending on what's across the net."
Utah State was led by Kaitlyn VanHoff with 12 kills and a .579 (12-1-19) hitting percentage. Elle Brainard added 11 kills, while Ashlan Rogers-Court finished the night with 19 digs. The Aggies hit .130 (53-32-161) for the match.
It was all Cowgirls to begin the match as they built an 8-1 advantage in the first set. A kill by the Aggies Maggie Day would end the Utah State scoring drought. Over the next 12 points, the two teams played even as Wyoming continued to maintain a seven-point lead, 15-8. Utah State scored the next two of three points to close the gap to six, 16-10, but that was as close as it would get. The Cowgirls closed out the set on a 10-5 run to win 25-15.
In the second set, Wyoming continued its solid play on the offensive side by scoring the first five points. After a kill by Brainard got the Aggies in the scoring column, the Cowgirls ran off four of the next seven to pull ahead by six, 9-3. Utah State chipped away at the deficit and went on a 7-2 run to close the gap to one, 11-10. UW kept their composure and regained a 19-14 lead in the set. Out of an Aggie timeout, a 6-2 run by Utah State made it 21-20. A kill by Shanahan stopped the Cowgirl scoring drought but four unanswered gave the Aggies set point, 24-22. Wyoming held off two set points but couldn't on the third. Utah State took the second set, 26-24.
The Cowgirls went scored the first four points of the third set, which was answered with three by the Aggies to make it 4-3. Started by a block by Beach and Henderson, Wyoming went on an 8-1 run to build a 12-4 advantage. A service error by the Cowgirls ended the scoreless stretch for Utah State. Wyoming responded with six of the next nine to increase the lead to double-figures, 18-8. The teams played even down the stretch as Wyoming won the set, 25-14, to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
It was back and forth in the early part of the fourth set until a 5-2 run by Wyoming put them ahead by three, 9-6. Utah State scored two of the next three to pull within two, 10-8. The Cowgirls responded with an 8-2 run to build the lead back to eight, 18-10. The Aggies battled back with a 9-2 run to pull to within one, 20-19. A kill by Beach ended the Wyoming scoreless stretch, but Utah State continued to hang around. Two kills from Kirby would seal the 25-23 win for the set and a 3-1 victory in the match.
The Cowgirls close out the weekend on Saturday against the Boise State Broncos. The match is set for 2 p.m. MT in the UniWyo Sports Complex.