Cowgirls Rolled to a Pair of Wins in Season Opening Tourney

photo by Darrell Johnson, KFBC radio

by staff–25 Aug ’18

The Wyoming volleyball team opened the 2018 season on Friday with two sweeps over North Florida and Oral Roberts in its first two matches of the Rumble in the Rockies tournament held inside the UW Arena-Auditorium. It marks the first time since 2010 that the Cowgirls have opened the season with a pair of sweeps (since those wins were vacated due to NCAA violations, the time previous that was 1994).

“I thought it was good,” head coach Chad Callihan said. “We came out pretty engaged. We’ve talked a lot about that this season as we’ve had a little bit of an ebb and flow with the way we’ve played games, but I’m very pleased with how we started both of those matches today.”

The Cowgirls close out the weekend against the 15th-ranked Colorado Buffaloes in the final match of the tournament. With both teams at 2-0, the winner will take the team tournament title.

“It’s easy to get excited for CU,” Callihan said. “We just wanted to make sure we didn’t overlook anyone because I think both of those teams that we played today could have given us fits if we weren’t prepared. It was nice to see us get through those, and now the girls can focus on Colorado. Hopefully they come out with the same energy they showed today.”

 In the first match of the day, the Cowgirls stormed past the Ospreys in a 3-0 sweep. Senior Emily Lewis and Tara Traphagan co-led the Pokes in kills with eight apiece for .412 and .400 hitting percentages, respectively. Cowgirls Cori Aafedt and Marissa Harmon both tallied double-digit assists, with Aafedt leading the team with 18 and Harmon tallying 14. Senior Reed Copeland and junior Madi Fields held down the Wyoming defense, as Copeland recorded nine total blocks and Fields added 12 digs.

As a team, the Cowgirls recorded a .337 hitting percentage and held North Florida to .011. Additionally, four Pokes recorded six or more kills in the match. The Pokes recorded seven service aces, led by freshman Jaiden Chase with four.

Wyoming dominated the Ospreys in the first set, coming out with a 25-12 win. Leading, 8-4, the Cowgirls were able to run off eight unanswered points—fueled by a trio of service aces from Chase and a couple of kills from junior Halie McArdle and freshman KC McMahon—to seize a commanding, 16-4 lead they would not relinquish. Traphagan, Lewis and McArdle each recorded three kills in the game, with the Cowgirls holding North Florida to a -.038 hitting percentage.

It was a similar story in the second set as Wyoming used an 11-2 run midway through the frame to take a 19-6 lead that would eventually result in a 25-12 Cowgirl win. Five Cowgirls recorded multiple kills while Copeland, Traphagan and sophomore Jackie McBride were each able to add three total blocks. Once again, Wyoming held the Ospreys to a negative hitting percentage at -.081 while posting a .286 percentage of their own.

North Florida got off to a hot start in the third frame, taking a 10-7 lead on the Pokes early; however, Wyoming would outscore the Ospreys, 18-7, from that point to clinch the match. The Pokes dominated on the attack, hitting. 524 as Copeland was able to add four kills and a couple of blocks.

The Cowgirls turned in a nother dominant effort in the second match of the day, routing Oral Roberts in another sweep. Traphagan led the Cowgirls with nine kills and seven blocks. Once again, setters Aafedt and Harmon racked up double-digit assists with 18 and 16, respectively. Fields anchored the Cowgirls with nine digs, followed closely by McArdle with eight.

Wyoming hit a .423 percentage at the net, thanks in part to percentages well over .550 in the first two frames. McBride led the Cowgirls in efficiency with with eight kills on eight attacks for a perfect 1.000 percentage. The Pokes were active on the defensive end yet again as well combining for 22 blocks, just five off the three-set school single-game record.

The Cowgirls showed no signs of fatigue to open their second match of the day, jumping out to a 13-2 lead early in the first set which included a 5-0 run to open the match. The Cowgirls never looked back, continuing to pour it on for the 25-7 set win. Traphagan got out to a hot start with five of her kills in the frame, adding three blocks as well. The team hit .591 as a team, holding the Golden Eagles to a -.154 percentage.

Oral Roberts would keep pace a little better in the second set, but the Cowgirls were able to use a couple of runs to build an 18-11 lead. From that point, Wyoming outscored the Golden Eagles, 7-3, to finish of the set and put themselves one away from the match win. Led by Traphagan’s three blocks, Wyoming combined for seven in the frame. McArdle and McMahon both recorded four kills apiece as the Cowgirls fired a .560 hitting percentage and held Oral Roberts to a .050 percentage.

Wyoming overcame a slower start in the third to edge the Golden Eagles, 25-18, to clinch the match. Traphagan and Lewis both recorded three kills in the set, as Aafedt added six assists and Harmon tallied four. Five Pokes added multiple digs, and the team combined for six blocks—with all six coming from a different Cowgirl.

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