LARAMIE– The Wyoming Cowgirl volleyball team unfortunately saw its season come to an end on Thursday afternoon at the North Texas Volleyball Center in Denton, Texas.
The Cowgirls fell to TCU in three sets (26-28, 21-25, 24-26) in the opening round of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC).
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End of a Historic Season
It wrapped up a historical season for Wyoming (17-14), which advanced to postseason play for the first time since 1994.
The Cowgirls, who finished second in the Mountain West, saw the match slip away as they were unable to solve the Horned Frogs (13-16) of the Big 12 Conference on Thursday.
McBride Led UW With 12 Kills
Redshirt freshman Jackie McBride led all Cowgirls with 12 kills against TCU. It was the seventh match this season she had recorded double-figure kills. Additionally, McBride led both teams with a .579 hitting percentage and also added four blocks during the match.
Austin Led Both Teams in Digs
Junior Emily Lewis added eight kills on a .412 hitting clip. She also recorded three digs and two total blocks for Wyoming. Senior Lily Austin led both teams with 16 digs on Thursday afternoon.
It was the eighth match this season the Boise, Idaho, native led the Cowgirls in that category. Furthermore, Austin topped both the Cowgirls and TCU with three service aces, which tied her season best.
Traphagan Got Eight Kills
Sophomore Tara Traphagan threw down eight kills for the Brown and Gold. She also totaled two blocks against the Horned Frogs. Both junior Reed Copeland and sophomore Halie McArdle posted four kills for Wyoming.
McArdle also had five digs, while Copeland tied McBride with a team-high four blocks.
Harmon Recorded 31 Assists
Marissa Harmon, a freshman and Texas native, tossed out 31 assists for UW on Thursday. It was the 20th-straight match and 28th overall she led the team in assists.
Harmon also had two blocks, one dig and one service ace while playing in her home state. Sophomore Madi Fields totaled seven digs for the Brown and Gold, while redshirt sophomore Cori Aafedt and senior Shelby Johnson had five and two, respectively.
With Harmon serving to begin the match, the Cowgirls earned their first point from a setting error by TCU. A kill from McBride would put UW up 10-6 after a 3-0 Wyoming run. TCU then called its first timeout.
Later, the Horned Frogs were able to put together a 3-0 run themselves to close UW’s lead to one, 18-17, which forced head coach Chad Callihan to use his first timeout. After the timeout, UW took the first two points to move its lead to three, 20-17.
TCU rallied and earned its first lead of the set up, 21-20. It was back and forth in extras until TCU claimed the set victory, 28-26. Wyoming hit .200 during the set, compared to TCU’s .300 hitting percentage.
Lewis started out hot with five kills in the opening frame, as McBride was close behind with four for Wyoming.
The Horned Frogs jumped out to a 4-1 lead only to see it be erased by four straight from UW. Neither team was able to hold onto momentum for more than one point until TCU spotted a two-point lead, 10-8.
With TCU up three, 12-9, Wyoming remained aggressive and would eventually use a 3-0 run of its own to even the score at 14 and force TCU to call time. TCU then called its second timeout as the Cowgirls offense continued to roll.
In all, six-straight points from the Cowgirls gave them a 17-14 advantage. A Wyoming service error and back-to-back kills from TCU tied it at 17, before two additional kills from the Horned Frogs gave them a 19-17 advantage.
TCU went on a 12-4 run to finish the second set and take a 2-0 lead into intermission. McBride and Traphagan each posted three kills in the second set, as Harmon dished out eight assists.
Three attacking errors and a service ace from Harmon guided UW to a 4-0 lead as TCU called an early timeout in the third set. TCU used its second timeout after Wyoming claimed eight of the next 11 points for an 11-3 lead.
Despite TCU making a few short runs to inch within reach, the Cowgirls remained cool for a good majority of the beginning of the set, which helped UW slide out to an 18-15 lead. It wasn’t until 25-24 in favor of TCU that the Horned Frogs would hold their first lead of the set.
Wyoming used a timeout to refocus only to see TCU take the final point. Their Big 12 athleticism prevailed late in the set, as TCU won 26-24 to seal the three-set victory over Wyoming. McBride posted five kills to lead UW.
Harmon added 14 assists, as Austin had eight digs in the final frame.
TCU Standout Performances
TCU was led by redshirt freshman Abigail Buckingham with 19 kills, as junior Anna Walsh added 12 for the Horned Frogs. They advance to tomorrow’s second round contest against the winner of the North Texas-Oral Roberts match.
End of 2017 Notes
- The NIVC marked postseason for UW for the first time since 1994. It was the fifth postseason appearance in the history of Wyoming volleyball.
- The 2017 season was the sixth-straight year the Cowgirls had at one point won at least five matches in a row.
- After having won seven during each of the past two seasons, Wyoming won eight matches away from the UniWyo Sports Complex in 2017. UW went 7-4 on the road and 1-4 in neutral court matches during the season.
- For the first time since 2014 Wyoming had two players record at least 300 kills in one season. Traphagan and Lewis each recorded 312 during 2017.
- Wyoming finished second in the MW 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 is also a new high in conference play.
- UW finished the season hitting .230 (1482-575-3943) as a team. It is the seventh best team percentage in single season history.
- The Cowgirls had 508 blocks assists and 295 total blocks at season’s end. They each became eighth best in single season history.
- McBride and Traphagan were named All-MW for the first time in their careers. Harmon joined them as honorable mention All-MW and also the MW Freshman of the Year. It was also the seventh-consecutive season UW had at least two representatives on the All-MW team.
- Harmon led the team with nine double-doubles this season. She also became the first true freshman to lead UW in assists since Tasha Weishahn (Beatrice, Neb.) in 2005 when she dished out 1,051 assists (11.42 aps). Weishahn is third all-time with 4, 191 career assists. Harmon finished her rookie campaign with 1,106 assists and was 46 away from tying former standout leader Courtney Chacon for tenth in single season history.
- Austin closed out her career seventh all-time with 1,027 digs. She led the team in eight matches this season.
- Austin and the Cowgirls have won 81 matches over the last four years. As the lone four-year senior, the 81 wins is tied fifth all-time as a class.
- Austin also finished ninth all-time with 101 service aces and fourth in program history having played in 451 set during her four years in Laramie.
- Copeland came into her junior season just outside the top-ten in blocks with 338. She will enter her final season fourth all-time with 463. Kristina Dzelme (1993-96) is sitting third with 573 total blocks.
- Copeland is also sitting 11th all-time in career hitting percentage with .271 (553-219-1233) as a Cowgirl. Katie Donahue (1984-88) holds the tenth spot in career hitting percentage at .272.
- Fields hits the halfway point in her career with 724 digs. She posted 427 to tie for the fifth-best in a single season for the Brown and Gold. She will look to move into the top-ten in program history next season. Chris Lambert (1983-86) is tenth all-time for UW with 949 career digs.
- Wyoming will have to wait until next season for the opportunity to earn its first postseason win since Dec. 8, 1989. The win came against then No. 4 Stanford in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. It was also 20 days before Cowgirl volleyball Sports Information Director Lincoln Mansch was born…
- Wyoming is now 2-5 all-time in postseason play.
- Callihan needs 23 wins to become the all-time winningest coach in Cowgirl volleyball history. Hall of Fame coach Mike English won 124 matches in seven seasons at Wyoming. Callihan has a record of 102-55 in five seasons in Laramie.