Cowgirl Volleyball Takes Down Their Rivals

photo courtesy of UW Athletics Department

by staff–26 Oct ’16

The University of Wyoming Cowgirl volleyball team began its four-match home stand with a 3-1 (27-25, 27-25, 16-25, 25-18) victory over Colorado State on Tuesday night before 997 fans in the UniWyo Sports Complex. Wyoming took care of business for its first win over CSU since Nov. 13, 1997.

UW (14-9, 7-3 MW) held the league-leading Rams to a .178 hitting percentage on Thursday night. Before the match, CSU had a MW-best .297 hitting percentage. It was the second loss for Colorado State in its last three matches, as it fell at San Jose State last Thursday. Before the loss to SJSU, the Rams had won 31 consecutive MW matches.

“We have to give this team a lot of credit for really executing down the stretch,” UW head coach Chad Callihan said.  “I thought in warmups we were pretty sharp and crisp. Our defense has been really good all throughout this conference season and tonight it was tremendous. Offensively, as well this group went out there and made those plays, they made it happen tonight. We understand what comes with these rivalry games, so we wanted to go out there to grind and compete.”

Senior Laura Beach had 13 kills with a .320 hitting percentage, in addition to a match-high eight blocks against Colorado State. Sophomore Emily Lewis added 12 kills, as senior Kayla Slofkiss recorded nine with seven digs and four blocks. Freshman Tara Traphagan posted a career-high eight kills for UW and hit .462 during the match.

Sophomore Reed Copeland brought home six kills and five total blocks for Wyoming. Senior Courtney Chacon recorded 41 assists for the Brown and Gold. It was her fourth match with at least 40 assists. She also had six digs and four total blocks while freshman Madi Fields had 13 digs for UW against the Rams.

In the opening set, CSU called its first timeout as the Cowgirls jumped out to a 6-2 lead. Copeland led the way early on with two kills in the first six points. A 10-6 run then gave Wyoming a 16-8 advantage. After CSU’s second timeout, the Rams earned three consecutive to cut UW’s lead to five, 16-11. The Cowgirls called a timeout with a lead of 18-15. A block from Copeland made the score, 20-17, before Colorado State inched its way back to tie the score at 21. A service error from CSU and two blocks from the Cowgirls gave UW its first set point. After going back and forth, the Cowgirls eventually took the set, 27-25. Four kills from Lewis and Beach led the way, while Chacon registered 12 assists.

Wyoming once again jumped out with a solid lead early in the second set, 5-3. A blocking error from CSU made it, 6-4, before the two teams traded points until the Rams managed to tie the score at eight.  CSU earned its first lead in the second set when it gained the advantage, 9-8. Traphagan gave UW the lead back with a kill to bring the score to 13-12. A timeout was called by Wyoming with CSU leading, 19-17. Colorado State then called a timeout immediately after Wyoming claimed two straight to move it to a tie at 19. Behind 16 tied scores and nine lead changes, UW took a 2-0 set lead by claiming the second set, 27-25.

Colorado State got the best of Wyoming after intermission. The Rams jumped ahead early and held the lead throughout the set. The Cowgirls battled but played behind the entire frame. Wyoming called its first timeout in the third as CSU held an 18-13 lead. A 7-3 run to close out the third frame gave CSU the set, 25-16. Eight different Cowgirls recorded one kill during the third.

In the thriller of the fourth and final set, Wyoming claimed the first point only to see CSU take the next three behind two blocks. Two kills from Beach tied it at three. Colorado State called its first timeout after a kill from Copeland that gave UW a four-point advantage, 8-4. Three-straight kills from Slofkiss pushed Wyoming’s lead four, 13-9. Two attacking errors from CSU initiated a timeout from the Rams.  Another vital block from Copeland made CSU call a timeout. The Cowgirls sealed the victory by going on a 10-6 run and took the set, 25-18.

Slofkiss is now 33 kills from becoming the 11th Cowgirl to record 1,000 during her career. With her eight total blocks tonight, Beach is two away from a share of sixth place all-time. She currently has 405 blocks, while Chacon has 3,054 career assists while wearing the Brown and Gold. Callihan claimed his first win over Colorado State on Thursday night. It was also his 43rd conference win, which is second in Wyoming coaching history. Hall of Fame coach Mike English had 46 wins during his tenure at Wyoming.

The Cowgirls will be back in action on Thursday night against Utah State. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m. MT in the UniWyo Sports Complex.