LARAMIE, Wyo. (Sept. 8, 2021) – The Wyoming Cowgirl volleyball team returns home after their first road weekend last week, as UW welcomes UC Santa Barbara, Northwestern and Missouri this weekend in Laramie for the UniWyo Invite. Friday and Saturday will be Wyoming’s second home tournament of the season.

Wyoming opens the tournament bright-and-early at 10 a.m., Sept. 10 against UCSB before closing day one at 7 p.m., against Northwestern. The Cowgirls close their three-match weekend at 6 p.m., Sept. 11 against Missouri.

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The Cowgirls (4-2) are coming off a 2-0 weekend at the Charleston Southern VolleyBucs Invitational last week, defeating Jacksonville State and Charleston Southern each in four sets. KC McMahon and Hailey Zuroske led the Cowgirls with 16 kills each in the opener against JSU. The 16 kills is a career-best for Zuroske, who also hit .412 in the win. In the second match against CSU, Naya Shimé led the way with 11 kills and hit .529. Shimé hit .480 for the weekend and ranks third-best in the Mountain West with a .411 hitting percentage on the season.

Defensively at the VolleyBucs Invite, Jackie McBride led the Cowgirls in both matches with six and seven blocks, respectively. McBride leads the team with 22 total blocks on the year. As a team, UW has 68 total blocks, a mark that ranks fifth nationally, while its 3.40 blocks per set as a team, leads the league and is third-best in the country after the first two weeks of 2021.

In addition to leading the league in blocks, the Cowgirls’ .269 hitting percentage ranks second in the league, while their opponent hitting percentage of .177 is fourth in the MW. After going 2-2 at home during the opening weekend, Wyoming is now 34-9 (.791 winning percentage) in home matches dating back to 2018.

UCSB is 1-5 on the young season, with its lone win coming on the road at Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Abrielle Bross and Deni Wilson lead the Gauchos with 61 kills each. Bross is hitting .298 on the year, while Wilson's .395 attack percentage leads the team. Rowan Ennis leads UCSB with 29 blocks in 2021. As a team, the Gauchos are averaging 2.43 blocks per set. In the back row, Kobie Jimenez leads the way with 3.65 digs per set.

Temi Thomas-Ailara leads Northwestern with 78 kills on the year. The Wildcats enter the weekend at 1-4, with their lone win coming at Colorado State. Alexa Rousseau leads NU averaging 8.82 assists per set in 2021. As a team, the Wildcats are hitting .217, while holding their opponents to a .195 team hitting percentage. Defensively, Leilani Dodson leads the team with 23 total blocks, while Hanna Lesiak leads a balanced back-row defensively with 44 digs.

Missouri has won its last two matches entering the weekend after a 0-4 start. Anna Dixon and Kaylee Cox lead the Tigers with 67 and 52 kills, respectively, with both hitting above .200 on the season. Opponents are hitting .257 on the season against Mizzou, who's led by Kayla Burbage's 1.12 blocks per set. Emily Brown is averaging 4.35 digs per set on the young season.

* University of Wyoming press release

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