Volleyball gets big win against Pilots, then struggles in loss to Cowgirls
LARAMIE, Wyo. -- Northern Colorado's first volleyball match Saturday at the UniWyo Cowgirl Classic was one for the record book.
The Bears' other match was one the players and coaches will soon want to forget.
The Bears' 25-18, 25-18, 25-20 victory against the Pilots (4-5) gave them nine straight wins for the first time since 2003 (26 straight wins) and for just the third time since 2000. Natalie Laband had 36 assists in the win, and Amanda Arterburn got to 17 digs.
"Again, I thought we served well (like in Friday's win against Texas-Arlington)," Bears coach Lyndsey Benson said. "That was a key to the match, that we were able to take them out of their offense. And for the most part we blocked pretty well and had a good advantage their with our block."
Northern Colorado was feeeling high after that victory, for sure.
A few hours later, however, the tournament's host school, Wyoming, brought Benson's program back down to earth a bit with a 3-0 victory that halted Northern Colorado's momentum and sent it into next weekend's Big Sky Conference opener at Weber State with a 9-3 record.
The Cowgirls (11-0) outhit the Bears .237 to .172 in the 25-23, 25-18, 25-20 win, including an efficient .306 in game two.
"They really attacked our weaknesses, give credit to Wyoming," Benson said. "They knew where to attack, and it was effective. I would say the key to the match was when they pushed, we just didn't push back. I thought we were just a little rattled instead of being composed."
Sophomore Kelley Arnold led the way for Northern Colorado with 13 kills on .345 hitting in the loss, and Julie Stephenson, who was later named to the 2010 UniWyo Cowgirl Classic All-Tournament Team had nine kills and nine digs.
The problem in the match, Benson said, was that her team just struggled coming up with big plays when needed and showing the aggressiveness that was so prevalant in its play during its strong early-season stretch.
"We'll need to learn from this match because we'll be in this situation again," Benson said. "When we get going in conference play, we're going to have a target on our backs, and we're going to have step up when other team bring their best effortst. I hope this loss taught us something."
2010 UniWyo Cowgirl Classic All-Tournament Team
UT-Arlington, Emily Shearin
Northern Colorado, Julie Stephenson
Wyoming, Jodi Purdy
Wyoming, JennaRae Jester
Boise State, Kersti Whitney
Boise State, Liz Harden