Volleyball Record-Setting Season Ends With Heartbreaking Loss

Tracy Ringolsby

From the desk of Kevin DeVries

LARAMIE – Wyoming’s record-setting volleyball season came to an end Friday night, the  Cowgirls losing a five-set heartbreaker  to Weber State in the second round of the NIVC Tournament by scores of 28-26, 24-26, 18-25, 25-16 and 15-11.

KC McMahon led the Cowgirls (22-9) for the second night in a row in kills as she had a stellar match, recording a career-best 26 kills on 54 swings to hit a team-high .370 in the loss. Halie McArdle recorded her fourth double-double of the season as she notched 13 kills to go along with 13 digs. Jackie McBride and Carlie Fikse added 12 and 11 kills, respectively. The 11 kills sets a career-high for Fikse. Tara Traphagan was the fifth Cowgirl in double-figure kills with 10.

Mackenzie Coates had a great night from her setter spot, tying a career-high with 56 assists to go along with 10 digs, three kills and a pair of blocks in her solid all-around effort. As a team, UW hit .228 while the Wildcats (26-8) hit .226. WSU ended up with a big edge at the service line, tallying six aces to Wyoming’s two while also recording a 10-7 advantage in total blocks.

“Weber State played a near-perfect match,” said Head Coach Chad Callihan.

“I thought our kids handled their pressure well, but you just keep waiting and thinking ‘they can’t continue playing that well’ but they found a way to do it. I credit our kids a lot for going down 2-1 and coming back in the fourth and battling to force the fifth.”

Madi Fields’ stellar career came to an end with the loss but she saved perhaps her best performance for last as she tallied a career-high 36 digs in the contest. The 36 digs are just one shy of tying the program-record for digs in a single match. That mark however, was set back in 1987 by Chris Lull, prior to the rally-scoring era played now. Fields ends her record-breaking career with 1,773 career digs. Erika Jones added 10 digs of her own to help in the back row.

The Cowgirls led for most of the first set but came apart late as the Wildcats went on a 6-1 run after trailing 20-18 and took a 24-21 lead. The Cowgirls would then go on a rally of their own, tying the set at 24-24 and eventually took a wild first set, staving off five Weber State set-points to take an early 1-0 lead.

In the second set, the Cowgirls fell behind early and couldn’t quite pull off a great comeback late in the set, as the Wildcats were able to hang on to knot the match up at one set each. UW trailed by as many as six, two separate times in the set, but showed great resilience and eventually tied things up at 22-22 and even had set point at 24-23, before Weber was able to close on a three-point run to end things.

The third set featured big runs by both teams in the front half of the set as the action went back-and-forth. Eventually, the Wildcats would take control down the stretch, ending on a 5-1 run to jump in front in the match.

Wyoming jumped out to an early lead in the fourth set to take control and didn’t look back in the fourth, leading wire-to-wire to force the decisive fifth. The fifth set saw Weber State jump out to an early lead and wouldn’t trail at all in the final set to finish things off.

“We needed to get a stop here and there in the fifth and for whatever reason we just could not get stops, really throughout the night as well.”

“What I said to our seniors is, that I love them, that they’re amazing. I’ll miss them, and that’s the toughest part is knowing that you won’t be with them again,” continued Callihan.

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