Cowgirls Open 2022 Hosting the Rumble in the Rockies
* University of Wyoming press release
LARAMIE -- Wyoming Cowgirl Volleyball opens the 2022 season Friday and Saturday, August 26 and 27 as UW hosts the first of its two non-conference tournaments this season. The Rumble in the Rockies features a loaded field to test the Cowgirls to open the season as No. 18 Creighton, Iowa State and Wichita State come to Laramie.
The Cowgirls, who are entering their 10th season with Head Coach Chad Callihan at the helm, serve up the season against Wichita State at noon Aug. 26. Wyoming closes day one at 7 p.m., against Iowa State before closing the tourney at 6 p.m., Aug. 27 against the 18th-ranked Bluejays. The trio of Cowgirl opponents went a combined 66-26 in 2021.
Wyoming went 16-14 overall last season and went 8-10 in Mountain West play. The Cowgirls enter the 2022 campaign picked to finish seventh in the Preseason Mountain West Poll. UW played a pair of preseason tune-ups last weekend with the annual Brown and Gold Scrimmage, which was split two sets each, and featured a four-set victory in an exhibition match against CSU Pueblo. Naya Shimé led the Cowgirls in the exhibition victory with 17 kills while Corin Carruth and Tierney Barlow added eight and seven, respectively. Shimé also led the way with four total blocks against the ThunderWolves. In the back row, Hailey Zuroske led the way with 17 digs while setter Kasia Partyka tallied a match-high 38 assists.
UW returns eight student-athletes from last season’s squad, including 2019 All-Mountain West honoree KC McMahon, who was 10th in the league in MW play last season in both kills (3.01) and points (3.45) per set. McMahon enters her final campaign in the Brown & Gold with 901 career kills, just 99 shy of becoming the 13th member of the 1,000-kill club in program history. Shimé led the team overall with 2.99 kills per set and was fourth in the conference in league-play averaging 3.55 per set. Zuroske, who will likely transition to the libero spot this season for the Cowgirls, was one of four student-athletes to play in at least 100 sets in 2021 and has appeared in 74 matches during her Cowgirl career. Zuroske was fourth on the team last season with 158 kills and was second on the squad with 223 digs (2.17 per set) and 30 service aces.
Corin Carruth, Teresa Garza, Lydeke King, Kayla Mazzocca and Zoee Smith all return this season as well, after seeing playing time in 2021.
Creighton, who enters the 2022 season ranked No. 18 in the Preseason AVCA Top-25 Poll, went 31-4 last season, and made it to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. The Bluejays were picked to win the Big East for a ninth consecutive season in the preseason poll and are led by Preseason Big East Player of the Year, Norah Sis. The 2021 Big East Freshman of the Year, Sis, was second in the league last season averaging 3.75 kills and 4.34 points per set. Sis was also named an AVCA Third Team All-America last season. Joining Sis on the Preseason All-Big East squad is Kendra Wait and Jaela Zimmerman. Zimmerman was the only player in the Big East in 2021 to average at least three kills and three digs per set on her way to Honorable Mention All-America honors. Wait, meanwhile, led the Big East in assists and was also an Honorable Mention All-America.
Iowa State returns five starters from last season's squad, including unanimous All-Big 12 Preseason selection Eleanor Holthaus, who was 10th in the league last season in kills (3.23) per set and ninth in points per (3.75). Jaden Newsome also returns in 2022 after finishing fourth in the Big 12 in assists per set with 9.80. The Cyclones are led by longtime Head Coach, Christy Johnson-Lynch, who enters her 18th season leading ISU. The Cyclones went 16-12 overall in 2021 and were 8-8 in conference play.
Wichita State returns a trio of All-AAC selections from 2021 in Brylee Kelly (first team), Natalie Foster (second team) and Kayce Litzau (second team). The Shockers went 19-10 last season and finished fifth in the American Athletic Conference with a 13-7 mark in league play. Kelly finished fourth in the league in both kills (3.54) and points (4.16) per set in 2021 and finished third in the AAC averaging 0.36 service aces per. Litzau, meanwhile, led the conference in assists per set at 10.18 while Foster hit .334 on the season, a mark that ranked fifth. The Shockers are helmed by Chris Lamb, who is entering his 23rd season leading the program.
Fans can watch the action this weekend streaming online via the Mountain West Network.
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