Cowgirl Volleyball Season In Review

Nov. 25, 2002

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Coming Up For the Cowgirls: The Wyoming Cowgirl Volleyball Team wrapped up the2002 season, on Thursday afternoon, at the Mountain West Conference Volleyball Championshipsin Ft. Collins. The Cowgirls came up short in their first round match against the UtahUtes falling 3-0. They end the season with an overall record of 20-11 and 5-9 in the MWC.

Rauter Named To All-Mountain West Conference Volleyball Team: Wyoming junioroutside hitter Michele Rauter was named to the Mountain West Conference Volleyball All-MountainWest Conference Volleyball Team, marking the first time she has earned the award. A native ofNorth Vancouver, British Columbia, Rauter is a two-year starter for the Cowgirls, who led the teamand conference in kills and digs this season. She also moved into the Top 10 in both kills and digs inschool history during the year.

Maytorena Named MWC VolleyballPlayer of the Week for second time:Wyoming rightside hitter Sara Maytorena wasnamed Mountain West Conference Volleyball Co-Player of the Week, marking the second time thisseason and in her career she has earned the award.A 6-1 sophomore from Parker, Colo. (PonderosaHS), Maytorena helped the Cowgirls to a 1-1 record,including a sweep over then No. 16 Utah, markingthe first win over the Utes since 1997.Maytorena totaled 11 kills and eight blockassists vs. Utah, and posted a career-high ten blockassists along with 20 kills vs. BYU, marking herfourth double-double of the season.For the week, Maytorena totaled 31 kills(3.88 per game), 13 digs (1.62 per game) and 18blocks (2.25 per game), while hitting .339.Maytorena is currently averaging 3.51 kills,1.89 digs and 1.13 blocks per game. She is alsoleading the team in hitting percentage at .283 (400-156-861)

She earned the award early this season for theweek of Sept. 16 after earning MVP honors at theWar Eagle Invitational.

Cowgirls Picked Sixth in MWCPreseason Coaches' Poll: In a vote of theeight head coaches in the Mountain WestConference, the University of Wyoming was pickedto finish sixth in the 2002 Mountain WestConference race.

Utah is the favorite to win the 2002 MWC titleafter earning six first-place votes and 48 points.Defending regular season champion Colorado Statewas second with 40 points, while BYU was thirdwith 39 points. San Diego State was picked fourthfor the third straight year, followed by UNLV,Wyoming, New Mexico and Air Force.

The 2002 season opens Aug. 30-31 with alleight league teams participating in tournamentplay. Highlighting the MWC non-conference slateare 19 matches vs. teams ranked in the 2002USAToday/AVCA Top 25 preseason poll, andanother 47 matches vs. 2001 NCAA Tournamentteams. The conference season gets underway Sept. 7when Wyoming visits Colorado State. The remainingMWC teams begin conference action Sept. 27-28.The Mountain West Conference Championship willbe held in Fort Collins, Colo., at Colorado State'sMoby Arena Nov. 21-23.

A Recap of the Last Match: In the first round ofthe Mountain West Conference Championships, theWyoming Cowgirl Volleyball Team (20-11 overall, 5-9MWC) fell in three games to Utah Utes (22-7 overall,10-4 MWC), on Thursday afternoon in Ft. Collins.It was back and forth scoring for both teams inthe early going of game one as neither team reallygained a huge advantage. The Cowgirls would taketheir first lead of the game 13-11 and maintained aone to two point lead for a majority of the game untilthe Utes tied it up at 21 all. Wyoming stormed backwith a 7-3 run to take their largest lead of the game28-24, but Utah answered with a 5-1 run to tie it upat 29 all. It would come down to the last point as theUtes came out on top 32-30.

Wyoming took the lead early in the second game,but the Utes would make a small run to go up 8-5which would grow to 12-8. Another 10-6 scoring runby Utah opened up their lead, 22-15, and eventuallytheir largest of the game, 27-17. The Cowgirls continuedto battle but fell short 30-20.

The Cowgirls opened up the third game by takinga 12-8 lead, which tied their largest lead of the match.The Utes answered back with a 12-2 run to open up ahuge six point advantage, 20-14. Wyoming continuedto battle and pulled within three points after a 6-2,but they fell short in the game 30-25 and the match3-0.

"I thought Utah played a great match today,"said head coach Jim Barnes. "The first game really setthe tone. I felt we came out and played sharp, reallyexecuted the game plan and really had our chancesto win the game. Utah slipped in there and took thegame and we really never regained any momentum inthe match. Every time we seemed to get a run going,something Utah did slowed us up. The kids did agreat job this year and really played hard."

Junior Michele Rauter led the Cowgirls as shefinished with 14 kills and ten digs. As a team, theCowgirls hit .157 (43-26-108).

The Cowgirls end the 2002 season with an overallrecord of 20-11 and a 5-9 mark in the conference.

Cowgirls Ranked Among Top 30 in Attendance: TheWyoming Cowgirl Volleyball team is ranked among the NCAA Top 30 thisweek in average attendance. The Cowgirls are currently averaging 1,153 fans per match, which iscurrently 23rd among NCAA Attendance leaders. The Top 5 in attendanceinclude Hawai'i, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Florida and Arizona.For the week of Oct. 14, 2002, Wyoming averaged 1,228 fans percontest, which was 18th, the week of Oct. 21, they averaged 1,123 for 23rdand the week of Oct. 28, they averaged 1,308 fans for 17th in the countryin attendance.

Wyoming Returns Three Individuals Who Earned AcademicAll-Mountain West Conference Honors in 2001: Seven CowgirlVolleyball Players were named Academic All-Mountain West Conference in2001. That was second only to the University of Utah, which had eightrepresentatives. Seven student-athletes also garnered MWC Scholar-AthleteAwards.

Three Mountain West Conference Teams ranked in 2002 USATODAY/AVCA Pre-Season Coaches Poll:For the second straight year, BYU, Colorado State and Utah cracked the top25 in the USA Today/AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll, released August 12 by theAmerican Volleyball Coaches Association. The MWC is one of just five conferenceswith three or more teams ranked (Big Ten - 5, Big XII - 4, Pac 10 - 4, Big West - 3).The Cougars, who finished last season at No. 22, open this season as the23rd-ranked team in the nation under first-year head coach Karen Lamb.Colorado State, coming off its third straight Sweet 16 appearance last year, is No.18 in this year's preseason poll. The Rams finished the 2001 season ranked No.10. Utah, which earned its first-ever Sweet 16 berth last season, is the highestrated MWC team at No. 13. The Utes were 15th in the 2001 final poll.The Mountain West Conference opens the season Aug. 30-31 with all eightteams in action. Wyoming travels to Colorado State Sept. 7 for the conferenceopener.

JIM BARNES
(McNeese State '94)University of Wyoming, Head Volleyball Coach

Jim Barnes, who for the past six years was the head volleyball coach at Lamar University, enters his first season as the head volleyball coach atthe University of Wyoming. He was named head coach on Dec. 19, 2001 and becomes the tenth head coach in Cowgirl history."We are very pleased with the hiring of Jim Barnes as our new head volleyball coach," said Athletics Director Lee Moon. "He has proven thathe can build a successful program at the Division I level, having won two conference titles in six years. I'm not only impressed with his coachingskills, but also his ability to recruit quality student-athletes."

For six seasons, Barnes had been the head coach at Lamar University (Beaumont, Texas). During that time, he posted an overall record of128-71, which included a 26-5 mark, a Southland Conference Championship and Barnes earning Southland Conference Coach of the Year honorsin 2001. Four Lady Cardinals also earned All-Conference honors.

Barnes guided LU to 24 victories in 2000, which was the most since 1993, and picked up his 100th career coaching win along the way. Healso led the Lady Cardinals to the finals of the Southland Conference Tournament, just one victory away from a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Inthe tournament semifinals that year, Lamar knocked off undefeated regular-season champion Southwest Texas and ended the nation's longestwinning streak at 23 matches.

In four years in the Southland Conference, he posted 86 wins and earned induction into the Tachikara Victory Club. Prior to that Lamar was amember of the Sun Belt Conference.

In 1997 after being picked to finish sixth in the coaches preseason poll, Lamar finished with an 8-1 conference regular season record andearned a Sun Belt Co-Championship. The Lady Cards made the finals of the Sun Belt Tournament before falling to preseason favorite Arkansas-Little Rock.

Barnes, who in only his second season was named the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year in 1997, also led the Lady Cardinals to a victoryat Arkansas State and thus ended the nation's longest conference regular-season winning streak at 54 matches.In his first season at Lamar, he inherited a team that finished 13-22 the year before and lost two All-Sun Belt Conference performers. With ateam that started no seniors and two freshmen, they managed to win both the NSU Tournament and the Stephen F. Austin Invitational, as well asrecording a 20-win season.

"This is an opportunity of a lifetime," said Barnes. "It has always been a goal of mine to coach at the highest level, and now I am going to getthat opportunity at the University of Wyoming. I know that Wyoming has a great tradition in volleyball through the years, and I'm excited aboutbuilding on that tradition. I want to make the entire state of Wyoming proud of our program."

"I am also grateful to Lee Moon and Barbara Burke for this opportunity," he added. "I have a great deal of respect for the both of them, andfor the type of athletic department they run."

The Sulphur (La.) native took over the Lamar program after spending six seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater McNeese State. Whilethere he was involved in several areas of the program including scheduling, recruiting, game preparation, travel and other day-to-day operations.In 1993, McNeese posted what was then its best finish in school history at 25-7 and finished as the Southland Conference runner-up. The1994 squad posted a 22-7 mark and earned MSU's first-ever regional ranking.

Barnes earned his bachelor of science degree in health and human performance from McNeese State in 1994 and completed his master'sdegree in 1996 from MSU as well.

He is married to the former Tracy Pittman and the couple has two daughters Brooke Aidan and Jenna Grace.