LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The 25th ranked Cowgirl volleyball team will carry a six-match winning streak into the second weekend of Mountain West play, visiting San Diego State on Thursday night and Nevada on Saturday afternoon. With a victory on Thursday night, it would be the first time UW will start conference play 3-0 since 1998.
Just one of three MW teams to have a perfect MW opening weekend, the Cowgirls (12-2, 2-0 MW) began the conference season with a sweep over Boise State and a four-set victory against Utah State. Having won nine of the last ten matches, UW found themselves within the AVCA Coaches Poll for the first time since 1994 on Monday. The Cowgirls received 63 votes to move into the 25th ranked spot.
"For the most part we played well this last weekend," UW head coach Chad Callihan said. "I thought our match against Boise State was our most complete match. I have to give a lot of credit to the players for being able to hold their composure and finish that match."
During the first weekend of MW play, Kayla Slofkiss led the team with 21 total kills. She posted seven against Boise State and 14 against Utah State. Slofkiss was one dig shy against the Aggies of having her team-leading seventh double-double of the season. Bridget Shanahan and Laura Beach recorded 20 and 17 kills, respectively, over the weekend. Senior Allison Waldvogel had a team-high 35 digs to begin MW play and currently sits third in the MW with 4.53 digs per set. Courtney Chacon is continuing to make her mark in the Cowgirl record books. Chacon became just the ninth Cowgirl in school history to record at least 2,000 assists. So far this season she has a total 282 assists and currently sits ninth on the career list for the Cowgirls with 2,014. Chacon led UW with 38 assists against the Broncos and Aggies.
Slofkiss, Beach and Shanahan have led the way offensively for the Cowgirls this season. Slofkiss has tallied 142 kills, Beach has added 133 with Shanahan close behind with 131 through the first 12 matches. Beach is eighth in the MW in hitting percentage with .333 (133-37-288) on the season. Slofkiss is just outside of the top-10 averaging a team-high 2.73 kills per set. Freshman Reed Copeland continues to impress while among one of the best blockers in the country. Already atop the Mountain West, she is ranked sixth in blocks per set and tenth in total blocks in the NCAA. Beach is also third in the MW with 1.19 blocks per set.
"Any time you go on the road it's difficult," Callihan added. "Elevation plays a big factor for us when we are on the road. We know we have to go in there and continue to fight on Thursday and Saturday."
Both San Diego State (4-10, 1-1 MW) and Nevada (6-8, 1-1 MW) split their matches during the opening weekend of conference action. SDSU swept New Mexico before falling to Air Force in four, while Nevada defeated Air Force in five sets before falling to New Mexico in four. SDSU is led by redshirt freshman Deja Harris and junior Baylee Little with 109 and 101 kills, respectively. Junior Hailey Jones is ranked seventh in the MW with 8.45 assists per set and is also the team-leader with 102 digs on the season. The Wolf Pack have two outside hitters within the top-10 in the conference in kills. Junior Madison Morell is seventh with an average of 3.19 per set, as sophomore Madison Foley is just behind her with 3.15 kills per set. Morell is also the MW leader in service aces with 0.50 per set. Senior Taylar Rothfuss is second in the MW with 10.00 assists per set, as she has 410 so far this season.