* University of Wyoming press release

LARAMIE -- The Wyoming Cowgirls opened the Kaylee Prigge Era and the 2023 season in style Friday in Laramie as the Cowgirls swept a pair of matches to open the Rumble in the Rockies. UW opened the season with a 25-14, 25-16, 25-23 effort against Winthrop before capping off the night with a 29-27, 25-20, 25-22 win over Green Bay.

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The Cowgirls (2-0) were fairly dominant in the opener against the Eagles to give Prigge her first-career win. UW didn’t trail at all in the first and second sets and when it was pushed in the third, the Cowgirls responded to score four of the final six points to close-out the match with the sweep.

“We talked as a team at the beginning of preseason about how young we are, and two weeks of practice time wasn’t going to drastically change us as volleyball players,” said Prigge. “I wanted to see how we were going to master our system, how we were going to communicate, how we were going to treat each other after a mistake, those were the things I wanted to be solid at going into today. I thought we did that really nicely. The consistency, the energy and effort I thought was the same throughout the match.”

When asked about how it felt to get her first-career win, Prigge laughed, “Relieving. They earned it, the girls were awesome, the team did a great job, they’re killing it.”

Tierney Barlow led the Cowgirls in the win over Winthrop with 14 kills and hit an impressive .571 in the sweep. The Cowgirls were balanced the rest of the lineup, as Corin Carruth had nine kills while Kasia Partyka and Rylee Schulz added eight kills each. Sarah Holcomb had six and, along with Barlow, led Wyoming with three total blocks.

Partyka stuffed the stat sheet in the opener as she also added 37 assists, seven digs and a pair of blocks. In the back row, three Cowgirls led the way with eight digs apiece. Wyoming hit .356 as a team in the opener and held Winthrop to a .131 clip.

The Eagles managed to out-block UW, 10-8. The Cowgirls tallied five service aces in the win, led by Schulz’s two.

Against Green Bay, the final score may have shown a sweep, but that was not indicative of how much Wyoming had to battle in the win. The Cowgirls rallied in the first set after trailing 23-19 in the later stages of the frame. UW also faced set point at 24-22 and 25-24 before surging ahead late.

The first set featured 15 ties and seven lead changes while the second set had 10 ties and six lead changes. The Cowgirls controlled much of the third set, but still found themselves tied late at 21-21 before ending the match on a 4-1 run.

Barlow again led the Cowgirl offense as she was one of three with double-digit kills. Barlow had 13 kills, hit .524 and registered three blocks. Schulz added 11 while Holly Eastridge had 10. Holcomb chipped in with seven on just nine swings as she also led the Wyoming defense with six blocking assists.

As a team, the Cowgirls had the upper hand at the net, recording a 10-8 block advantage.

In the back row, Skylar Erickson led the way with 11 digs while Sierra Grizzle and Schulz added eight apiece. Grizzle also had both of UW’s service aces in the victory. Partyka tallied 42 assists in the victory as she continued her strong start to the young campaign.

Wyoming now looks to make it a perfect 3-for-3 weekend as it closes the tournament at 6 p.m., Saturday against South Dakota State.

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