LARAMIE, Wyo. (Nov. 28, 2017) --
For the first time since 1994, the Wyoming Cowgirl volleyball team is back in postseason play. Following an impressive regular season and a second-place finish in the Mountain West, the Cowgirls (17-13) are set to participate in the 2017 National Invitational Volleyball Championship. UW is set to compete against TCU (12-16) in the first round on Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. MT.
The University of North Texas was selected as one of eight schools to host the first and second rounds of the NIVC. UNT will be hosting UW, TCU and Oral Roberts for the first two rounds set to commence Nov. 30-Dec. 1. North Texas and Oral Roberts will face off on Thursday following the Wyoming-TCU match, with the second round contest set for Friday evening.
For the first and second rounds of the 2017 NIVC, live stats will be available at meangreenstats.com. For the price of $6.99, fans can use the link above to watch the live video for Wyoming's match against TCU. Fans can also interact and follow the volleyball team on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
For the seventh-consecutive season, the Cowgirls placed at least two on the All-MW team. Sophomore Tara Traphagan
and redshirt freshman Jackie McBride
were named All-MW on Monday afternoon. They were joined by Marissa Harmon
who was named the MW Freshman of the Year and honorable mention All-MW. It's the first all-conference recognition for all three and Harmon is UW's first MW Freshman of Year since Reed Copeland
earned the honor in 2015.
Last Time Out
The Cowgirls dropped a four-set decision at Fresno State on Nov. 18 to close out the 2017 regular season. Senior defensive specialist Lily Austin
led the team with 14 digs during the contest to become the eighth Cowgirl in program history to record at least 1,000 career digs. She currently has 1,011 while a member of the Cowgirls, which is seventh all-time. Junior Emily Lewis
led the Brown and Gold with her first-career double-double. She totaled 18 kills and ten digs. She also posted a .419 hitting clip against the Bulldogs. Harmon joined Lewis with a double-double as she tallied a career-high ten kills, in addition to 36 assists during the match.
Through the regular season, Traphagan and Lewis lead UW in kills, with 307 and 304, respectively. Harmon has tossed out 1,070 assists (9.55 aps) this season, while sophomore Madi Fields
leads UW with 420 digs (3.75 dps). McBride and Copeland top UW in blocks. McBride has 123 total blocks (1.10 bps), as Copeland has 121 (1.20 bps).
The Opponents: TCU & Oral Roberts/North Texas
Thursday afternoon's contest may bring back many memories between the Cowgirls and Horned Frogs. TCU was a member of the WAC from 1996-2000 and the MW from 2005 to 2011. In all, Wyoming and TCU have met 19 times, with Wyoming holding an 11-8 advantage in the all-time series. This week's match will mark the first contest between the schools since 2011. TCU wrapped up its regular season on Saturday with a sweep on the road of Oklahoma to finish with a 12-16 overall mark and 4-12 record in Big 12 action.
Junior Anna Walsh was the sole member of the TCU volleyball team to be honored by the Big 12, as she named to the All-Big 12 Second Team for the first time in her career on Monday afternoon. Walsh led the Horned Frogs all season offensively and defensively with 268 kills (2.82 kps) and a .308 hitting percentage. The junior also posted a team-best 98 total blocks and 1.03 blocks per set overall this season.
Wyoming faced off with Oral Roberts earlier this season for what was the first-ever matchup between the two. Wyoming won in five sets. Against North Texas, UW is 2-0 all-time. The last meeting came in the 2006 season opener at the CenturyTel/Premier Classic hosted by Texas State.
Oral Roberts (15-13, 11-3 Summit) fell to Denver in four sets in The Summit League Championship match last weekend. ORU had three members honored with Summit League postseason awards as voted on by the league's head coaches. Laura Milos was selected as the Player of the Year and joined CeCe Madison in earning All-Summit League First Team accolades, while Morgan Blomquist landed on the All-Freshman Team.
UNT (28-3, 13-1 C-USA) is coming off a stellar 2017 season, which included the school's first regular season conference championship. The Mean Green entered the C-USA tournament as the No. 1 seed but fell to No. 2-seed Western Kentucky in the conference championship. The loss snapped its 16-match winning streak. North Texas team placed five players on the All-Conference USA teams, announced by its conference office last week. Seniors Amanda Chamberlain, Holly Milam and junior Karley York garnered first-team honors, while Alexis Wright was named to the second team and Barbara Teakell earned a spot on the All-Freshman Team.
Wyoming Postseason History
The Cowgirls have competed in four NCAA tournaments. Wyoming is 2-4 all-time in the NCAA tournament, with wins against Stanford and UCLA during the historical 1989 season that ended in the Elite 8. Wyoming lost to Penn State in its first appearance in the tournament in 1986, before falling in the first round to Stanford in 1990 and Washington in 1994.
The 32-team field features 17 programs with 18 or more wins and five schools that finished first in regular-season conference play (Albany, North Texas, Sacramento State, Stephen F. Austin, and Maryland Eastern Shore). Additionally, six schools in the field are ranked or receiving votes in the latest Volleyball Magazine Mid-Major poll with No. 12 North Texas, No. 16 UC Irvine, No. 20 SMU, No. 23 Sacramento State, No. 24 Rice, and Texas State (RV). The third round of the NIVC is scheduled for Dec. 2-4.