The University of Wyoming volleyball team bounced back from a rough start, and rallied back to beat the University of Northern Colorado on Saturday night at the UniWyo Sports Complex.
The Cowgirls were searching for answers early in the match after they dropped the first two sets, but found what they were looking for in the final three to close out the UniWyo Invite by beating the Bears, 22-25, 18-25, 25-23, 25-23, 15-8.
Wyoming (4-2) kept the first set close before Northern Colorado closed it out by scoring the final three points.
It was the first set the Cowgirls had lost since they faced the University of California-Santa Barbara on August 31st.
“We didn’t look very prepared pre-game,” said head coach Chad Callihan. “That’s probably the first time we had to sit around all day and wait to play and we may not have managed that well.”
The second set of the match was the biggest struggle for the Cowgirls as the communication on the court seemed to be off.
“There was some disappointment there after the result in the first set,” Callihan said. “We knew we weren’t necessarily playing very well and the way we went to correct it wasn’t right.
“(UNC) had us on our heels and we couldn’t seem to get ahead of anything.”
UW didn’t let the deficit impact its performance for the remainder of the match.
Senior Halie McArdle came off the bench to lead the Cowgirls with 18 kills. She helped set the tone in the third set with four kills and help her team win their first set of the game. The outside hitter also paced the Cowgirls with a .459 hitting percentage.
“We were a little stressed there in the first couple of sets and we just needed to control our side,” McArdle said. “A kick from the bench and a different lineup helped that, but I can’t do what I do without our setters, passers and diggers.”
The Cowgirls finally found their momentum following the third set and the crowd helped them use it to their advantage.
They took the lead early in the fourth set and didn’t look back as they held the lead for the rest of the match.
In the final set, the Cowgirls jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead which helped them put the game away and go undefeated in the tournament.
UW faced the University of Buffalo and the College of Charleston on Friday to win their first two matches of the invite and were able to go 3-0 after defeating UNC.
The Bears hit at a .237 rate as a team while UW was a little more efficient finishing with a .248 percentage.
Setter Mackenzie Coates had a career-high 56 assists for the Cowgirls.
“We passed really well and that opens up a lot of things for us,” Coates said. “I just always want to get my hitters as successful as they can be. I tried to dish them out tonight and I had a lot of fun.”
After losing their first two matches of the season, the Cowgirls are currently on a four-match winning streak and will look to continue the trend as they head to Vermillion, South Dakota, to compete in the South Dakota Classic next weekend.
“We got a taste of losing early on in the season and we did not like that,” Coates said. “Going down early (Saturday) made us mad so we really fought and came out with a win.”