LARAMIE – The University of Wyoming soccer team will look to take advantage of a couple more matches at the Madrid Sports Complex this week. The Cowgirls play host to UNLV on Friday at 3 p.m. before an 11 a.m. match against Nevada on Sunday.

Wyoming has been particularly stout at home this season. The Cowgirls are 6-2-0 at home this fall and that includes outscoring their foes 18-10.

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And that’s the idea. Head coach Colleen Corbin wants Laramie and its 7,220 feet of elevation to be an ace in the hand for her team.

Corbin arrived at Wyoming from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. That town resides at an elevation of 1,325 feet.

Corbin, understandably, had a memorable encounter with the elevation of the High Plains.

“I definitely posted on Twitter a SpongeBob GIF of him wheezing,” Corbin said. “I literally just walked from my car up the stairs to my office and needed to take a break. You go from feeling you’re a pretty high-caliber athlete, and then you’re not. I know it’s real.”

It’s quite difficult to walk around UW’s campus and not see the number 7,220. It’s plastered on walls, fields, courts and apparel.

There’s a reason for that. It has a profound effect on visiting teams, especially two – in UNLV and Nevada – that reside at 2,002 and 4,505 feet, respectively.

“7,220 is no joke,” Corbin said. “We need to take advantage of that as part of our home-field advantage. I could feel it for weeks. Nick, Julie and I did a workout at a CrossFit gym, and I laughed through the whole thing because it was comical how hard I was breathing.”

Corbin and company will look to keep the Rebels and Wolf Pack breathing heavily this weekend in a pair of matches that could shake up the Mountain West Conference standings. Wyoming has posted a 2-4-0 record in MWC play (6-7-1 overall), while Nevada sits at 2-2-2 in league action (3-8-2 overall), and UNLV holds a 2-4-0 league record (9-6-0 overall).

The Wolf Pack are positioned seventh with eight points. The Rebels and Cowgirls are 10th with six points apiece. The top six teams in the final MWC standings advance to the conference tournament in Boise.

Sophomore forward Alyssa Bedard – who made SportsCenter top-10 plays Monday with her flip-throw that led to a goal – paces the Cowgirls offensively with four scores this season. Redshirt-junior midfielder Jamie Tatum, junior forward Faith Joiner and freshman forward Maddi Chance add three goals apiece.

Redshirt-junior goalkeeper Alex Daws has started the last three games in net to bring her total number of starts on the season to 11. She has logged 50 saves and owns a GAA of 1.96.

UNLV didn’t begin the conference season very well. The Rebels lost their first three MWC matches, but have since won two of their last three, one of which was a victory over New Mexico – the Lobos first loss in league play.

Marcella Brooks and Hevani Haunga lead the Rebels with four goals each. Ten other players have scored at least once this season.

Three goalkeepers have started a minimum of four matches this season for UNLV. Riley Liebsack received the nod in their most recent pair of games. She owns 18 saves and a GAA of 1.00 this fall.

Wyoming and UNLV did not meet during the spring season. Prior to that, the Cowgirls had won two in a row in the series and three of the last five.

Much like the Rebels, Nevada got off to a sluggish start in MWC play. The Wolf Pack failed to win any of their first three matches, but have responded by winning two of their last three.

Emily Rich paces Nevada with three goals this season. Eight other players have scored at least once.

Kendal Stovall has started 10 games in goal this fall. She has collected 54 saves and lays claim to a GAA of 1.37.

The two teams didn’t square off during the spring slate. The Wolf Pack won the most recent meeting in 2019, while the Cowgirls won the previous three matchups.

Sunday’s match is Alumni Day at Wyoming. Players from soccer teams of years past will be honored at halftime.

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