by staff–6 Mar ’21
The Wyoming Cowgirl Volleyball team continued its success at home this season with a three-set win over San Diego State on Saturday afternoon in the UniWyo Sports Complex. UW won by scores of 25-19, 25-14 and 25-18 to complete the weekend sweep of two matches against the Aztecs. Wyoming improved to 7-3 on the season and 7-3 in the Mountain West Conference with the victory. SDSU fell to 3-7 overall and 3-7 in the Mountain West. The Cowgirls home record this season now stands at 5-1.
It was a balanced offensive attack for Wyoming on Saturday with five different Cowgirls having at least five kills. UW was led by senior middle blocker Faith Waitsman and sophomore outside hitter Emersen Cyza, who each had nine kills. Sophomore outside hitter Hailey Zuroske added seven kills, followed by senior middle blocker Jackie McBride, with six, and junior outside hitter KC McMahon, with five. Waitsman had an extremely efficient day, as her nine kills came on only 12 attempts and she had only one hitting error for a team high .667 hitting percentage.
But it wasn’t the offense that impressed Wyoming head coach Chad Callihan. Callihan was more impressed with the little things that his team did on Saturday.
“It was a balanced attack today,” said Callihan. “Emersen (Cyza) kind of carried us last night, but it was nice to get contributions from others today. I don’t know that we were great offensively today, but I thought we did a lot of the other things better today — a lot of the little details that we were missing yesterday. I told the team I think that is one of the reasons we saw the score reflected a little differently today.”
One of the areas that Wyoming improved upon from Friday night to Saturday was on its defense at the net. The Cowgirls recorded 11 team blocks in Saturday’s match compared to six blocks on Friday night. Leading UW in blocks was Waitsman, with five. McMahon added four, and McBride had three.
The Cowgirls also did a better job of closing out games on Saturday, winning by: six points (25-19) in the first set, 11 points (25-14) in the second set and seven points (25-18) in the third. That compared to wins on Friday night of six points (25-19), two points (26-24) and three points (25-22).
In response to getting their second consecutive three-set sweep of the weekend, Callihan said, “Yes, limiting the wear and tear on our bodies, getting more rest is important when you’re playing back-to-back matches like this. I didn’t think we ever allowed ourselves to get on some of the big runs that we could, but we had a good effort today.”
In terms of the Cowgirls’ continued success at home, Callihan commented, “Everybody feels more comfortable being at home. It’s nice to have a few fans in here. It would be nice to have our normal contingent, but it gives some added life to the game and I think the kids feed off that and enjoy that, as well.”
Sophomore libero Erika Jones led the Cowgirls in digs with 15, and Cyza added 11 digs. Junior setter Abby Olsen was credited with 30 assists in the match. Junior Kaitlyn Gehler, McBride and Cyza each accounted for one service ace.
The first set saw Wyoming and San Diego State go back and forth early and the set was tied as late as 10-10. UW would build five-point leads at 18-13 and later at 21-16. SDSU was able to narrow the lead to three points at 21-18, but Wyoming would score four of the last five points of the set to win 25-19.
In the second set, the Cowgirls held a two-point lead at 10-8 and then proceeded to score six straight points to extend their lead to 16-8. The Aztecs cut the lead to six points at 20-14, but it would be the closest they would get as Wyoming scored the final five consecutive points of the set to win 25-14.
The third and final set saw the two teams tied as late as 10-10. From that point forward, Wyoming held narrow leads up until a three-point lead at 21-18. But much like the way the second set ended, the Cowgirls would score the final four points of the set to win 25-18 and secure the three-set sweep.
Wyoming will return to the court next weekend when they will travel to Fresno State to play the Bulldogs on Friday and Saturday, March 12 and 13 at 7 and 8 p.m., M.T., respectively. The next home match for the Cowgirls will be on Saturday, March 20 in a single match versus Nevada. The Wyoming-Nevada match is scheduled to start at 1 p.m., Mountain Time.