LARAMIE -- The Wyoming Cowgirl volleyball team hits the road for the first time this season as the Cowgirls travel out East for the Charleston Southern VolleyBucs Invitational on Sept. 3.

Wyoming (2-2) will face Jacksonville State at 8 a.m., Mountain Time to open the tournament Friday, before closing things at 4 p.m., against host-Charleston Southern. The Cowgirls were also supposed to face The Citadel Sept. 4, but the Bulldogs had to cancel due to Covid-19 protocols within the program. Friday will be the first-ever meetings for the Cowgirls against Jacksonville State and CSU.

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UW opened the 2021 season with a four-match split last weekend at the Wyoming Rumble in the Rockies Tournament. The Cowgirls swept Siena, twice at the tourney, while Saint Mary’s bested the Cowgirls twice over the weekend.

The Cowgirls averaged 3.42 blocks per set as a team over the four matches, a mark that ranks 10th nationally, while their 41 total blocks ranks second in the country.

Kayla Mazzocca led the Cowgirls over the weekend during her six sets of action, averaging 1.5 blocks per set, which ranks third in the Mountain West during the early season. Jackie McBride’s 1.29 blocks per, ranks eighth. Lexie Collins, Mazzocca and McBride all led the way with nine blocks each last weekend, while Teresa Garza and Lydeke King had eight each.

Naya Shimé led the Wyoming offense at the Rumble in the Rockies, as she notched a team-best 30 kills, while hitting .385, which is fifth-best in the league through the opening week of action. UW utilized all three of its setters last weekend and was led by Payton Chamberlain’s 52 assists. The Cowgirls hit .249 over the weekend, which is currently fourth-best in the league.

Jacksonville State enters the weekend after a perfect 3-0 weekend at its home event last week. The Gamecocks swept Gardner-Webb, Alabama State and Middle Tennessee. Lena Kindemann led JSU with 29 kills (4.14 per set) and hit an impressive .531 over the weekend. Kindemann was selected as a Preseason All-Atlantic Sun honoree.

As a team, JSU hit .393 last week and held its opponents to a .167 clip. Macie Garrison averaged 13.5 assists per set to open the season. Defensively, Zoe Gonzales led the Gamecocks with seven total blocks, while in the back row, Brooklyn Schiff averaged 3.89 digs per set.

Charleston Southern’s Paige Reagor was named to the Preseason All-Big South Team in August, after being a First Team all-league honoree in the spring. Dayan Chara and Peyton Thompson were Second Team All-Big South selections last season. Chara and Thompson led the Bucs with 26 and 25 kills, respectively last weekend. Setters Abigail Breeden and Emma Minnick led CSU in assists last week. Breeden led the way with 38 assists, while Minnick’s five assists per set led the team.

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