Volleyball: Cowgirls Shutdown San Diego State

From the desk of Harry Endicott

LARAMIE – The Wyoming volleyball team got back on track on Saturday night, sweeping San Diego State, 3-0, at the UniWyo Sports Complex. The Pokes only trailed for one point in the match.

“I thought we looked like we came to compete a little better this evening,” head coach Chad Callihan said. “We measure effort a lot of times by defensive intensity, and to do that we look at digs and dig percentage. The other night against Fresno State we dug 19 percent, and our goal is to be 55. We were above our goal tonight, so that was good to see…It was nice to see us bounce back tonight.”

The Cowgirls (16-8, 8-4 MW) didn’t allow San Diego State to eclipse 20 points in any of the three sets on Saturday, marking the third time this conference season that the Brown and Gold have completed that feat. Wyoming recorded a .330 hitting percentage, its second-highest percentage since the beginning of MW play, while holding the Aztecs to a .139 mark.

The Pokes were led offensively by Halie McArdle, who racked up 10 kills on an efficient .409 hitting percentage. Wyoming was efficient up and down the lineup, with four Cowgirls recording seven or more kills while hitting at least .250, including eight from senior Emily Lewis and junior Tara Traphagan. Setter Cori Aafedt racked up 26 assists to lead all players in that category.

“We definitely came out with a better energy tonight,” Traphagan said. “We had better intensity and better focus overall. I think we were all locked in—defensively and offensively—and everything just kind of clicked for us.”

Senior Reed Copeland contributed on each of the Cowgirls’ six total blocks with five assisted and one solo rejection. Libero Madi Fields led the squad in digs with 10, along with her fourth career kill.

“We just came out with a will to win tonight,” Fields said. “No balls were hitting the floor and we were just aggressive. We played as a team and as a good unit tonight and I don’t think we really saw that on Thursday.”

With sophomore Jackie McBride on serve, the Cowgirls set the tone early in the first, sparking a 4-0 run to stretch Wyoming’s lead to 9-3. The team wouldn’t look back as it finished off a 25-14 first-set win to take the early advantage. Traphagan led the Pokes offensively in the set, racking up three kills on four attacks with no errors, while Copeland recorded a trio of blocks. As a team, Wyoming out-hit the Aztecs, .417-.061, in the period.

The Cowgirls opened the second set with a 12-3 run to seize control of the frame early on the way to a 25-19 win. Four different Pokes in Traphagan, Copeland, McArdle and Lewis recorded three kills in the second to help lift the team over the Aztecs in the frame.

McArdle recorded half of her 10 kills in the third set to lead the Pokes to a 25-19 match clincher. San Diego State won the first point of the period to jump out to its first lead of the match before Wyoming ran off four straight to regain the lead which they wouldn’t concede.

The Cowgirls will be back in action on Tuesday at 7 p.m. when they head to Fort Collins, Colo., for the season’s second edition of the Border War rivalry against Colorado State.