LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming Cowgirl volleyball team will put its 11-match home winning streak on the line this weekend for its final pair of Mountain West matches. UW (22-6, 12-4 MW) is set to square off against UNLV (15-13, 8-8) for the first time this season on Saturday at 1 p.m., MT before taking on Border War rival No. 13 Colorado State (22-3, 15-0) on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., for senior night in the UniWyo Sports Complex.
Aside from its 11-match home winning streak, Wyoming has won the last six at home against UNLV. The last loss to the Rebels in Laramie came in five-sets in 2008. UW will be looking for its 13th MW victory, the most as a member of the league in one season. The Cowgirls earned 12 wins last season for the first time since joining the MW in 1999.
"It's a little odd preparing to play an opponent we haven't seen yet," UW head coach Chad Callihan said. "But it's the schedule we have and they're in the same position as we are. We've had the opportunity to look at several different matches on film, and we'll make adjusts as the match goes on. UNLV is a very talented team. We have a lot of respect for what they are capable of doing and know we'll have to be ready to compete."
The driving force in the top blocking defense in the MW has been the nation's leading blocker, Reed Copeland. The freshman leads the NCAA in total blocks (175) and blocks per set (1.67). She is the only freshman in the top-35 of both categories after a career-high 13 blocks against Fresno State on Wednesday night. Kayla Slofkiss is one of six Cowgirls with triple-digit kills on the season. She has 282, while Laura Beach and Bridget Shanahan have 259. Beach is also sixth in the MW with a .342 attacking percentage. Courtney Chacon has a team-high 580 assists, as Allison Waldvogel is fourth in the conference with an average of 4.44 digs per set.
Copeland's 175 blocks moved her into fifth on the single-season list for Wyoming. Waldvogel is still holding strong in third place with 480 assists this year, while Beach's .342 hitting percentage is fifth best in Cowgirl single-season history. Shanahan sits in tenth place all-time for UW with 1,049 kills for her career, while Chacon is inching towards the eight spot in all-time assists with 2,312 for her career.
The Rebels were picked to finish second in the MW Preseason Poll and had won two-straight before a four-set defeat against Colorado State on Wednesday night. Bree Hammel has 305 kills to lead UNLV, while Ceannia Kincade is next in line with 251 kills. Alexis Patterson has a team-high 1,029 assists and is fourth in the MW with an average of 9.71 per set. Carly Riehl is second in the conference with an average of 4.58 digs per set and a total of 486 on the season. The Rams clinched the 2015 MW championship with its victory over UNLV. It proved to be the seventh-straight MW title for CSU, which is the longest streak in the NCAA. The Rams have also won 17 straight matches. Alex Reid leads CSU with 277 kills on the year, as Adrianna Culbert has 236. Crystal Young has a team-high 544 assists and Culbert has 482. Acacia Andrews has a total of 114 blocks this season, and is tied with teammate Alexandra Poletto for third in the MW with 1.24 blocks per set. Andrews also is leading the conference in hitting precentage with .418.