* University of Wyoming press release

LARAMIE -- The Wyoming Cowgirls hit the road for the first time during the 2023 campaign this weekend with a trip to Texas Tech for the Red Raider Classic.

The Cowgirls will play a pair of matches Friday, opening at 10 a.m., against Texas A&M – Commerce. UW closes the day with a 6 p.m., match against the host-Texas Tech. Wyoming finishes with a Saturday morning contest at 10:30 against Louisiana.

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The Cowgirls opened 2023 strongly with a 3-0 start to the season last week at the Rumble in the Rockies Tournament.

Wyoming swept Winthrop and Green Bay before winning in four against South Dakota State. The three wins at home to begin the season already matches last season’s home win total.

Wyoming landed three on the all-tournament team as Tierney Barlow, Kasia Partyka and Rylee Schulz all took home the honors. Barlow led the Cowgirls with 35 kills (3.50 per set) last weekend while hitting .585.

Barlow was also tied for the team lead with 12 total blocks to open the year. Schulz was second on the team with 32 kills (3.2 per) and led UW with four service aces. Shulz also averaged 2.20 digs per set at the Rumble in the Rockies. Partyka, meanwhile, averaged 12.5 assists per set in the first three matches of the season. As of Wednesday, Partyka was currently the national leader in assists per set.

Partyka orchestrated an offense that hit .328 as a team last weekend while also tallied 15 kills, 19 digs and six blocks.

As a team, the Cowgirls currently lead the Mountain West in assists per set (15.1), kills per set (15.8) and hitting percentage (.328). This weekend’s matchups with TAMU – Commerce and Louisiana will be the first-ever with the two schools.

The Cowgirls and Red Raiders will be playing for the sixth time all-time and the first time in Lubbock.

Texas A&M - Commerce, who was picked to finish seventh in the preseason Southland poll, went 1-2 in the first weekend of 2023. The Lions face Abilene Christian Tuesday night before traveling to Lubbock. Offensively, Commerce was led by Reese Fetty's 28 kills over the weekend at the UTSA Invite.

Kitana Tuufuli and Deja Benjamin recorded 19 and 13 kills, respectively with both hitting well over .300. Defensively, Avery Wilks led the way with 10 total blocks while Benjamin added nine. In the back row, Jade Smith tallied 33 digs. The Lions deployed a pair of setters over the weekend as Breann Connally averaged 4.1 assists per set and Peyton Plant averaged 3.9 per. As a team, Commerce hit .151.

Texas Tech has gotten off to a fast start to begin the year, going 4-0 at home over the weekend.

The Red Raiders are dynamic defensively, averaging nearly three blocks per set as a team while holding its first four opponents to just a .108 hitting percentage. TTU is averaging 17.53 digs per set and has 21 service aces on the season. Kate Hansen leads the way with 27 total blocks so far on the young season.

Offensively, Brynn Williams has a team-leading 72 kills (4.24 per set) while setter Reese Rhodes is averaing 9.7 assists a set. In the back row, Maddie Correa has tallied 77 digs on the season.

Louisiana enters the weekend 2-1 after its opening weekend at Mississippi State.

The Ragin' Cajuns are led by Shyia Richardson's 54 kills (4.91 per set) while Celeste Darling, Cami Hicks and Kara Barnes all have 22-or-more kills. Setter Siena DeCambra is averaging an even 11 assists per set on the young season with Louisiana hitting .203 as a team.

The Ragin' Cajuns have two with 30-plus digs so far as Richardson has 30 while Kennedy Gustafson has a team-leading 39 digs. Louisiana is averaging 1.55 blocks per set and has 12 service aces thus far.

All of this week’s matches can be streamed live on ESPN+.

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