by staff–14 Aug ’19
The Wyoming volleyball team was picked to finish second in the 2019 Mountain West Preseason Coaches’ Poll. It is the second season in a row the Brown and Gold have been picked second to start the year.
The Cowgirls finished third in the Mountain West last season with a 12-6 mark in league action and a 20-11 overall record. For the second season in a row, Wyoming competed in the postseason National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC) tournament. Head coach Chad Callihan returns eight letterwinners from last year’s squad, including three starters plus the libero.
The Cowgirls picked up 79 points in the preseason coaches’ poll, finishing with one more point than UNLV and 21 points behind Colorado State. The Rams earned 10 first-place votes, while fourth-place Boise State earned the other first-place vote as part of their 73 points.
Rounding out the poll, San José state earned 66 points for fifth, followed by Fresno State (56), New Mexico (50), San Diego State (41), Air Force (28), Utah State (19) and Nevada (15). Colorado State setter Katie Oleksak was tabbed the Preseason Player of the Year by the league’s coaches.
Fans will get their first chance to see the 2019 Cowgirl squad at the Brown and Gold Scrimmage on Friday, Aug. 23 at 6:30 p.m. The team will then host Nebraska-Kearney for an exhibition game on Saturday, Aug. 24 in Cheyenne.
This season, the Cowgirls will take on four teams that competed in the 2018 NCAA Volleyball Tournament, and six that earned invites to the NIVC. Overall, seven of Wyoming’s 11 nonconference games will feature teams that played in the postseason a year ago.
The schedule features 13 home games, including nine Mountain West matches. The Cowgirls will also host the Rumble in the Rockies tournament from Sept. 6-7, featuring Wyoming, Buffalo, College of Charleston and Northern Colorado.
2019 Mountain West Volleyball Predicted Order of Finish (first-place votes):
1. Colorado State (10) – 100
2. Wyoming – 79
3. UNLV – 78
4. Boise State (1) – 73
5. San José State – 66
6. Fresno State – 56
7. New Mexico – 50
8. San Diego State – 41
9. Air Force – 28
10. Utah State – 19
11. Nevada – 15
2019 Mountain West Volleyball Preseason Player of the Year
Katie Oleksak (Colorado State)
2019 Preseason All-MW Team
Mariena Hayden (UNLV)
Breana Runnels (Colorado State)
Kirstie Hillyer (Colorado State)
Paulina Hougaard-Jenson (Colorado State)
Lauren Twitty (New Mexico)
SETTER: Katie Oleksak (Colorado State)
LIBERO: Regan Leonard (Fresno State)