LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming volleyball team (20-7, 9-5 MW) stumbled on Thursday night in a tough four-set loss (22-25, 25-17, 16-25, 23-25) against the New Mexico Lobos (18-10, 10-5 MW) in Laramie.
Senior Erin Kirby finished her night with a team-high 14 kills, four block assists and .345 (14-4-29) hitting percentage. Junior Bridget Shanahan also had 14 kills while Kayla Henderson added 11 kills. Outside hitter Kayla Slofkiss recorded a team-high 14 kills followed by libero Allison Waldvogel with 13 digs. The Cowgirls hit .204 (55-25-147) on the night
"I felt that New Mexico looked a lot more engaged than we did," head coach Chad Callihan said. "It was disappointing knowing what we were competing for. From the start, they played with great energy and brought their game tonight and we were going through the motions. I'm disappointed in myself not getting this team ready to play."
The Lobos were led by senior Chantale Riddle with a match-high 15 kills, plus six digs and three blocks. Cassie House recorded 12 kills followed by Devanne Sours with ten. New Mexico hit .270 (57-19-141) for the match and out blocked the Cowgirls 15-9.
"We really struggled on defense tonight. The block was never there consistently and we allowed New Mexico to hit at a high clip. We had opportunities to get stops and we didn't."
The teams traded the first four points of the match until two attack errors by New Mexico gave the Cowgirls a 4-2 lead. A kill by Riddle gave the Lobos their third point, but UW scored on the next side out and continued to hold a two point lead. With the score 9-8 in favor of the Cowgirls, they scored four of the next five points to make it 13-9. Two attack errors from Wyoming started a 5-2 run for the Lobos to pull them to within one, 15-14. A kill by Kirby ended the run, but New Mexico evened up the score at 16 all. Over the next six points the teams were even until a kill by Riddle gave the Lobos their first lead of the set, 20-19. Out of a Cowgirl timeout, the Lobos scored five of eight to win the first set, 25-22.
It was back and forth through the first 12 points of the second set. With it all even at six, Wyoming recorded three straight kills to give them a 9-6 lead. New Mexico scored two straight points to pull to within one, 9-8. The Cowgirls responded with a 7-2 run to pull ahead by five, 16-11. Hannah Johnson earned the next point for UNM to end the scoring drought, but Wyoming increased the lead to six, 19-13. UNM was unable to pull closer than six as the Cowgirls won the set, 25-17.
In the third set, Wyoming took a 3-2 early lead which was answered by three straight points by the Lobos to give them a 5-3 advantage. The Cowgirls responded with three of the next four points to tie the score at six. New Mexico went on a 5-2 run to regain a three-point lead, 11-8. Out of a timeout, a kill by Beach got UW back in the scoring column, but the Lobos scored five straight to extend the lead to seven, 16-9. A service error stopped the run unfortunately the Cowgirls couldn't get anything going offensively. New Mexico outscored the Cowgirls 9-6 to win the third set, 25-16.
The score was tied at three to begin the fourth set. New Mexico scored the next eight of ten to pull ahead by six, 11-5. Out of a Cowgirl timeout, Wyoming rallied with a 9-4 run to pull to within one, 15-14. A kill by Riddle got the Lobos back on track as they went up by three, 19-16. The Cowgirls battled back and would tie it up at 20. Unfortunately, the comeback would fall short as New Mexico won the set, 25-23, and the match 3-1.
The Cowgirls will close out the weekend on Saturday by hosting the Air Force Academy Falcons. The match is set for 1 p.m. in the UniWyo Sports Complex.