LARAMIE, Wyo. (Nov. 1, 2016) – The Wyoming Cowgirls return to the UniWyo Sports Complex to host Mountain West foes New Mexico and UNLV this week. UW will face off with the Lobos at 6:30 p.m. MT on Thursday before it takes on the league-leading Rebels on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Wyoming came away with two wins at home last week. UW topped Colorado State for the first time since 1997 in four sets before defeating Utah State, 3-1. Senior Laura Beach remains at the top of the conference and is 13th in the NCAA in hitting percentage (.400, 222-46-440), while sophomore Reed Copeland sits 12th (.272, 166-65-372). Copeland is also third in the MW with 1.31 blocks per set. Senior setter Courtney Chacon recorded her 33rd career double-double against Utah State. She is ninth in the conference averaging 8.88 assists per set. Freshman Madi Fields earned her first MW Defensive Player of the Week award after recording 3.88 digs per set a week ago. Fields is also ninth in the league with 2.99 digs per set this season.
“We just want to take it one match at a time,” UW head coach Chad Callihan said. “We have had the discussion of us controlling our own destiny but we try not to change a whole lot. I believe we will see two tough teams this weekend. It was a big win for us on the road against New Mexico earlier this season. They are a very talented team and can spread the ball around. Our team is well aware and understands what is at stake but looking ahead nothing matters other than New Mexico right now.”
Earlier this year, the Cowgirls fell to UNLV in four before sweeping New Mexico. Kayla Slofkiss and Chacon each had a double-double against the Rebels. Slofkiss then went on to record a season-high of 18 kills against the Lobos to help the Cowgirls earn what was its tenth sweep of the season.
New Mexico (14-12, 4-8 MW) is making its way to Laramie having won three in a row. Senior outside hitter Cassie House leads the Lobos and is eighth in the MW with 320 kills (3.40 kps). Sophomore setter Carson Heilborn is tenth in the MW and has a team-high 682 assists (7.49 aps) while redshirt junior outside hitter Ashley Kelsey is second in the league with 412 digs (4.20 dps). Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Victoria Spragg is the lone New Mexico player with triple-digit blocks with 101 (.06 bps), which sits third in the MW. Senior outside hitter Devanne Sours was recently named the MW Offensive Player of the Week after averaging 4.88 kills and 5.31 kills per set in the Lobos wins over Fresno State and San Jose State last weekend.
UNLV (21-3, 10-2 MW) is tied for first place in the MW standing and is led by two-time MW First Team selection Bree Hammel. She is third in the MW with 343 kills (3.90 kps) and tied third in service aces (0.38 saps). Additionally, Hammel is second in the league averaging 4.74 points per set. Junior setter Alexis Patterson is third in the MW with 978 assists (11.11 aps). As a team, UNLV is second in assists (1133; 12.88 aps) and kills (1248; 14.07 kps). The Rebels are also second in the MW in blocks, averaging 15.15 blocks per set and in digs (1333; 15.15 dps). UNLV has earned four MW weekly honors this season. Patterson has been named each the Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week once, as Hammel earned Defensive honors with sophomore middle blocker Elsa Descamps taking the Offensive honors after the first week of play.
-Laura Beach continues to hold the top all-time hitting percentage mark (.370) for UW. She also owns a share of sixth all-time with 407 total blocks. She is tied with Judy Peck (1988-91). Beach is 91 kills away from 1,000 for her career.
-Kayla Slofkiss needs 21 kills and 17 digs to become the fourth-ever Cowgirl with 1,000 kills and 900 digs.
-Courtney Chacon leads all active MW players with 33 career double-doubles. She remains in sixth place in Cowgirl history with 3,104 assists. Chacon is now 23 digs away from joining Chris Lambert (1983-86) and Jil Robins (1991-94) as the only Cowgirls with at least 3,000 assists and 900 digs.
-Chad Callihan has 44 conference wins at the helm of Wyoming volleyball. The only coach ahead of Callihan for conference wins is Hall of Fame coach Mike English (46).
-Wyoming continues to lead the MW and is 17th in the NCAA in opponent hitting percentage (.157, 922-525-2602). UW is third in blocks (232, 2.64 bps) after the first six weeks of conference play.