Cowgirls Volleyball Hosts Rumble in Rockies Friday-Saturday
The Wyoming Cowgirl volleyball team opens up its 2018 season this weekend at the UW Arena-Auditorium when it hosts the Rumble in the Rockies beginning on Friday.
The Cowgirls will serve up their first match of the weekend on Friday at 12 p.m. MT against North Florida, followed by a 7 p.m. contest against Oral Roberts. The Brown and Gold will close out the event on Sunday at 7 p.m. against No. 15 Colorado.
|Friday, Aug. 24.|
|Colorado vs. Oral Roberts, 10 a.m.|
|North Florida vs. Wyoming, 12 p.m.|
|Colorado vs. North Florida, 5 p.m.|
|Oral Roberts vs. Wyoming, 7 p.m.|
|Saturday, Aug. 25|
|North Florida vs. Oral Roberts, 12 p.m.|
|Colorado vs. Wyoming, 7 p.m|
Following an impressive regular season and a second-place finish in the Mountain West, the 2017 Cowgirls (17-14) competed in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC). While the Cowgirls came up short in the first round match to TCU, the NIVC selection marked the first postseason selection for UW since 1994. It was the fifth postseason appearance in the history of Wyoming volleyball.
Wyoming finished second in the MW last season with a 12-6 conference record. It was the highest finish as a team while a member of the MW. Half of those wins came on the road, which was also a new high in conference play.
The Cowgirls also were picked to finish second in the confernece in 2018 in a pre-season poll. Colorado State, which is ranked nationally, was picked to repeat as the MW champion.
The Cowgirls are coming off a win at Northern Colorado last Friday in exhibition action. Wyoming was able to put the Bears away in three sets at Bank of Colorado Arena. Libero Madi Fields posted a double-double on the night with 13 digs and 10 assists. Senior Emily Lewis finished the night in double-figure kills with 11, while Cori Aafedt led the Pokes in assists with 13. As a team, Wyoming posted a .441 hitting percentage, while holding the Bears to .200.
Colorado enters the 2018 season coming off of a 24-10 overall record last year, including a run to the NCAA Sweet 16 and a 12-8 conference mark to finish fifth in the Pac-12. The Buffs return five starters and seven other players from a year ago, including AVCA Second Team All-American Alexa Smith.
Head coach Jesse Mahoney is entering her third year at the helm of the Colorado program with a 38-26 record. Head coach Chad Callihan is 1-0 against the Buffs since taking over at Wyoming.
Saturday will mark the 23rd meeting in the series between Colorado and Wyoming, which began in 1978. Colorado holds a 14-8 lead over the Cowgirls in the all-time series.
Saturday will be the first time since 2013 that the two teams have met. Wyoming won that match, 3-2, in Laramie. The Cowgirls are 4-6 in home matches played against Colorado.
North Florida posted a 13-19 overall record last season with a 5-9 record in Atlantic Sun matches. The Ospreys finished fifth in the ASUN and return eight players from a year ago. Head coach Kristen Wright is entering her first year at North Florida.
Friday’s match will mark the second meeting between Wyoming and North Florida. Wyoming won the previous match, 3-1, in 2011. before Callihan became the Cowgirls coach. Thatwin was later vacated due to NCAA violations.
Oral Roberts is coming off a 15-14 overall record in 2017 with an 11-3 record in Summit League play to finish second. The Golden Eagles reached the postseason for the first time since 2006 with an appearance in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship. Oral Roberts returns two starters, plus its libero for the 2018 campaign. Head coach Sheera Sirola enters her 16th year with the program, racking up a 270-193 overall record.
Friday will also mark the second meeting between Wyoming and Oral Roberts. The Cowgirls and Golden Eagles met last year at the Oral Roberts Invitational in Tulsa, Okla., with Wyoming coming away with the 3-2 win.