Cowgirls begin NIVC play against Northwestern State

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ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING (Dec. 3, 2019) — The Wyoming volleyball team opens its third consecutive postseason appearance Thursday as the Cowgirls host the first two rounds of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC) December 5 and 6.

UW (21-8) will host Northwestern State (20-12) at 6:30 p.m., Dec. 5. Boise State (18-11) and Weber State (24-8) also come to Laramie as those two will face off at 4 p.m. The second-round match is also at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 6. 

It’s the second straight season that the Cowgirls will host the NIVC, having lost in five last season to Utah Valley. Wyoming has competed in postseason play six times previously in program history, having played in four NCAA Tournaments and a pair of NIVC Tournaments.

The Cowgirls are 0-2 all-time in NIVC matches.

 

The Cowgirls are coming off a historic regular season, winning a program-record 16 Mountain West matches. Wyoming also had a program-best four selected to the All-Mountain West Team and a fifth who was named Honorable Mention All-MW. The five members are the most since 1989.

Madi Fields, Jackie McBride, KC McMahon, and Tara Traphagan were all named to the All-Mountain West Team while Mackenzie Coates was an Honorable Mention selection. It was the third consecutive honor for McBride while Traphagan was named to the All-MW Team for the second season (2017).

It was the first-career accolades for Coates, Fields, and McMahon.

In the penultimate match of the season at Nevada, Fields became the program’s all-time leader in career digs, surpassing Becky Stewart and now has 1,720 career digs.

 

This season, Fields’ 508 digs led the Mountain West and are the fourth-most in a single-season at Wyoming.

The Cowgirls are 12-1 at home this season and have recorded a season-best seven consecutive wins, twice, including their current seven-match streak. With a win Thursday, UW’s streak would be the fifth-best mark in program history.

Northwestern State lost in the semifinals of the Southland Conference Tournament to Sam Houston State, who also made the NIVC field.

The Lady Demons are led by SLC Player of the Year Hannah Brister, who has tallied a program-record 529 (4.81 per set) kills in 2019.

 

Alexis Warren is second on the team with 325 kills and was a Third Team All-SLC selection. Megan Lohmiller led NSU with 537 digs, averaging 4.63 per set.

The Lady Demons deploy a two-setter system and are led by Cayman Sutton’s 595 (5.31 a set) assists and Skylar Besch’s 579 (4.99 per).

Weber State is led by a trio of First Team All-Big Sky honorees in Megan Gneiting, Dani Nay and Ashlyn Power. Nay and Gneiting led the Wildcats with 342 and 340 kills, respectively in 2019 while Hannah DeYoung led the way with a .339 hitting percentage. Power led Weber State averaging 10.95 assists per set during the year.

The Wildcats lost a heartbreaker in five sets in the Big Sky Championship to Northern Colorado, who the Cowgirls beat in five earlier this season.

Boise State had a pair named to the All-Mountain West Team in Jessica Donahue and Janell Walley while Danielle Boss was an Honorable Mention selection and Lauren Ohlinger was the 2019 MW Freshman of the Year.

Ohlinger led the Broncos with 317 kills on the year while Walley hit a team-best .356 and tallied 266 kills. Donahue notched 200 kills, hit .328 and led the league with 159 total blocks. Boss led the team averaging 10.01 assists per set, which ranked third in the league.

Tickets for the event are on sale now at gowyo.com/tickets.