LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Thursday, Sept. 17
6:30 p.m. - Wyoming v. Idaho State: Live Video | Gametracker
Friday, Sept. 18
10 a.m. - Pepperdine v. Idaho State: Gametracker
12 p.m. - Wyoming v. McNeese State: Live Video | Gametracker
5 p.m. - Idaho State v. McNeese State: Gametracker
7 p.m. - Wyoming v. Pepperdine: Live Video | Gametracker
Saturday, Sept. 19
10 a.m. - McNeese State v. Pepperdine: Gametracker
Sunday, Sept, 20
2 p.m. - Wyoming v. Shanghai: Live Video | Gametracker
The University of Wyoming Cowgirl volleyball team concludes the non-conference portion of the schedule this weekend, hosting the Wyoming Invite. The Cowgirls welcome Idaho State, McNeese State and Pepperdine. In addition to the tournament, UW will take on Shanghai Eastbest and Lansheng Volleyball Professional Club on Sunday afternoon for a final tune-up before Mountain West play.
The action starts at the UniWyo Sports Complex on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 6:30 p.m., with the Cowgirls facing the Idaho State Bengals. It will mark the first meeting between the schools since 2009.
Friday, Sept. 18, will be a busy day with four contests slated. Pepperdine will meet Idaho State at 10 a.m., before UW will face McNeese State for the first-ever meeting at 12 p.m. The afternoon session begins at 5 p.m. between Idaho State and McNeese State. Wyoming will face West Coast Conference foe Pepperdine in the nightcap at 7 p.m. It will mark the first meeting between the Waves and Cowgirls since 1998.
"It doesn't get any easier this week," UW head coach Chad Callihan said. "We've got to pick up right where we left off and make sure we have another successful weekend. We know we need to come prepared each match and be ready to compete, regardless of who is across the net from us."
For the third consecutive week, Wyoming has received votes in the AVCA Division I Coaches Poll. The weekly poll has UW with 41 votes, and four spots outside of the top-25. After three weekends of play into the 2015 season, the Cowgirls are led by Laura Beach, Kayla Slofkiss and Bridget Shanahan offensively. Beach has a team-high 86 kills, Slofkiss has 85 while Shanahan is close behind with 81. Courtney Chacon and Cori Aafedt have organized a majority of the attack passing out 172 and 110 assists, respectively.
On the defensive end, UW is led by freshman Reed Copeland, who is first in the MW with 58 total blocks, and ranks third in the NCAA, averaging 1.71 blocks per set, along with Allison Waldvogel, who is fourth in the MW with 161 digs, and ranks 62nd in the NCAA, averaging 4.74 digs per set.
"Overall I like what this team has done," Callihan said. "We have been able to pick up a couple quality wins which will help us throughout the rest of the year. We haven't always been executing the way we want to, but we find a way to compete."
Pepperdine brought in the No. 22 ranked recruiting class according to PrepVolleyball.com and are off to an 8-2 start. Freshman middle blocker Tarah Wylie has 103 kills for the Waves, as freshman outside hitter Nikki Lyons has 99 on the season. Senior setter Becca Strehlow, earned WCC player of the week honors after the first weekend of the season and All-Tournament team accolades at the USC Invitational this past weekend. She has 374 assists through the first ten matches, as senior libero Lara Dykstra is leading Pepperdine with 181 digs.
The first-ever meeting with McNeese State will bring a Cowgirl team that is led by sophomore outside hitter Rae Myers, who has 76 kills. Senior setter Kelly Graham is the team-leader with 223 assists and junior libero Bridget Justis has 128 digs for McNeese State.
Idaho State is led by first year head coach Rick Reynolds and was also picked to win the Big Sky Conference in the preseason coaches' poll. The 2014 Big Sky MVP redshirt senior Tressa Lyman returns and is currently the team leader with 158 kills. Senior middle b locker Mackenzie Filer is next for the Bengals with 120 kills, as redshirt junior setter Haley Farrer has 444 assists. Former Cowgirl libero Kaitlyn Johnson leads ISU with 125 digs.
"We are focused on getting through these next three matches," Callihan added. "It's always fun to see a different style of volleyball. I think they will play the game a little differently from what we normally see."
The volleyball team will deviate from the normal non-conference schedule and host the Shanghai Eastbest Lansheng Volleyball Professional Club from Shanghai, China, in an exhibition match on Sunday afternoon. First serve is scheduled for 2 p.m., in the UniWyo Sports Complex.