Despite a closely fought match, the end result was a road loss for the University of Wyoming volleyball team on Saturday afternoon.
The Cowgirls fell in three straight sets at Fresno State 29-27, 25-22, 25-23.
UW (8-8 overall, 0-4 Mountain West) had a chance to jump ahead in the match by taking the first set, with set points at 24-23 and 26-25. But a 4-1 late run by the Bulldogs (6-6, 2-0) put UW behind early.
The Cowgirls battled back from 21-13 down to cut the deficit to two points in the second set. But Fresno State would again close the set strongly, scoring the final three points to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
In the third set, UW led 9-5 early, but a 9-1 run by the Bulldogs put them in front 14-10 and kept a lead to the end.
Cowgirls Naya Shimé and KC McMahon finished with double-figure kills in the loss with 13 and 12, respectively. The duo also recorded a pair of blocking assists each and McMahon added six digs and a pair of service aces.
Defensively, Kayla Mazzocca led UW with a career-best eight blocks. In the back row, libero Erika Jones notched a match-high 14 digs. Hailey Zuroske added eight digs in the loss and Payton Chamberlain and Kaitlyn Gehler had five each.
Chamberlain had 30 assists for the Cowgirls while adding three kills and a pair of blocks. Jones chipped in with five assists. UW hit .257 and Fresno State countered at .297 and had a 6-4 edge in service aces. The Cowgirls tallied 10 blocks as a team compared to three for the Bulldogs.
UW continues its four-match road trip next week at San Jose State Thursday before heading to Nevada on Saturday.
UW swimming and diving coach Dave Denniston hopes that his team’s performance at DU Relays on Saturday is a microcosm of what the season could be.
“I thought the way we swam the second half of the meet and the way we were finishing our races says a lot about how the season is setting up,” Denniston said in a press release. “Overall, I thought the team did a great job, especially coming off probably the hardest training week they’ve had in a long time.”
Denver won the women’s side, collecting 232 points to Wyoming’s 188 points. The Pioneers defeated the Cowboys 254-140.
UW won five races. The women touched first in three relays, while the men claimed first in a pair of relays.
The women’s 1,500-yard relay team of Roxy Ramirez, Maggie Clerkin and Sage Morton highlighted the first portion of the meet. The distance trio topped the field in 15 minutes, 44.19 seconds.
The women’s 300 backstroke relay of Emily Giles, Andrea Niemann and Katelyn Blattner maintained some of that momentum when they won in 2:54.70.
The men’s 100 freestyle relay of Matt Lang, Jakob Borrman, Quinn Teller and Grant Sloan jumpstarted the Cowboys with a win of 38.20.
The men’s 400 IM relay of Miller Browne, Cameron Murphy, Thomas Diaz and David Mihalic followed suit with a victory in 3:35.16.
The women’s 500 crescendo relay with Kira Crane, Sani Carsrud, Lainee Jones and Blattner bookended the meet for the Cowgirls with a win in 4:33.31.
“When we were in position to win a race, especially on the final leg, we had a lot of people step up,” Denniston said. “A lot of really good races, where it came down to the end, we were able to get our hand on the wall.”
Wyoming will take a couple weeks off from competition before a quad meet Oct. 22-23 at Air Force, featuring the Falcons, Denver and LSU.