LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Four of six starters finished with double-figure kills as the Wyoming volleyball team (18-5, 7-3 MW) pulled out a thrilling five-set win (24-26, 25-22, 25-9, 25-27, 18-16) over the Boise State Broncos (12-10, 5-5 MW) on Saturday afternoon in Laramie.
"This match was so intense. There was so much ebb and flow to the match," head coach Chad Callihan said. "Sports are such an up and down game. The fact that our score resets at the beginning of each set, you beat a team 25-9, feel great about yourself and turn around to lose the next one 26-24. Either way you have to be able to come out, refocus and bring the energy every time. It was a challenge for us today but we made the plays when we had to. The momentum never really shifted to our side in this match. It came down to those last few points. You probably could have played another set and it wouldn't have turned out differently. We were grinding a little bit mentally, but in the third set came out and established the block. Defense is what seems to separate us in matches."
Senior Erin Kirby led the team with 16 kills, seven blocks and a .591 (16-3-22) hitting percentage. Sophomore Laura Beach followed with 14 kills and seven blocks while juniors Kayla Henderson and Bridget Shanahan with 13 and 11 respectively. Junior Allison Waldvogel recorded 15 digs and sophomore Kayla Slokiss added 14 digs and seven blocks. The Cowgirls hit .288 (60-18-146) for the match and out blocked the Broncos 17.5-9.0.
Boise State was led by Taylor Murphey with a match-high 18 kills and three block assists. Maddy O'Donnell recorded 12 kills while Alyssa Gammel added 11 kills and 14 digs for the match. The Broncos hit .184 (72-39-179) on the night and recorded 56 digs.
Wyoming gained an early 3-1 lead in the match, but the Broncos responded with four unanswered to take their first lead 5-3. The Cowgirls scored three of the next four to even up the score at six. The teams traded the next eight points and were tied up at ten until a 6-2 run by Wyoming made it 16-12 in favor of the Cowgirls. Out of a Boise State timeout, a kill by Murphey ended the Bronco scoreless stretch and started a small run to close the gap to three, 19-16. Two points by UW put them back up by five, 21-16, but Boise State battled back and evened up the score at 23. A service error gave Wyoming set point, 24-23 unfortunately the Broncos scored the last three points to win the set, 26-24.
The Cowgirls came out in the second set and took a 5-2 lead. After the Broncos closed the gap to one, 6-5, Wyoming ran off the next four points to increase the lead to five, 10-5. A kill by Gammel started a 10-5 run for Boise State to make it all even at 15. The Cowgirls kept their composure and regained a 20-17 lead and eventually went on to win the set 25-22.
In the third set, UW kept the momentum on its side scoring five of the first six points to go up 5-1. After a point from the Broncos, the Cowgirls scored nine unanswered to give them a double-figure lead 14-2. A service error and attack error by Wyoming ended the Boise State scoreless streak but the Cowgirls continued their strong play. UW closed out the set on an 11-5 run to take the set, 25-9 and a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Broncos seemed to turn it around in the fourth set by taking a 3-1 lead. Wyoming evened up the score at five, but Boise State regained an 11-6 advantage. The Cowgirls chipped away at the deficit and pulled to within one, 16-15. A kill by Gammel on the next side out got the Broncos back in the scoring column and they continued to hold that lead. Three straight points by Wyoming including two kills by Beach put the Cowgirls up for the first time in the set, 20-19. Boise State scored five of eight to earn set point, 24-23. Wyoming held off two set points but couldn't hold off the third as the Broncos won the set 27-25 to force a fifth and deciding set.
The fifth set saw the Cowgirls take a 5-3 lead, which was answered with a 6-2 run by Boise State to give them a slight 9-7 advantage. A kill by Shanahan jump started a Wyoming rally capped off by a block solo by Beach helping UW regain an 11-10 lead. The Broncos responded with three straight points to take control of the set 13-11. The Cowgirls battled back with two kills, forcing Boise State to call a timeout. O'Donnell gave the Broncos match-point on the next serve. UW held that off and earned match-point, 15-14, which was answered by a kill by Gammel. Finally, a kill and block assist by Kirby and Chacon would close out the set, 18-16 and the match 3-2.
Wyoming will return to action on the road next week for two matches. The Cowgirls will face UNLV on Thursday at 7 p.m. MT in Las Vegas followed by San Diego State on Saturday at 2 p.m. MT in San Diego.