For the first since 1997, the Wyoming Cowgirls have defeated Colorado State on the volleyball court with a four-set victory Tuesday night.

Wyoming (14-9, 7-3) took the first two sets. Then after they dropped the third, the Cowgirls pulled away for the win. Prior to Tuesday night, UW had lost 37 consecutive matches to their rivals.

Head coach Chad Callihan said CSU sets the bar for volleyball in the conference.

“You kind of measure yourself in terms of what kind of program you are and whether you can compete or not. I’ve been saying the last couple of years that I feel like we’re talented enough; and that we can match up; but there’s a mental hurdle there… but it was nice to be able to finally clear that. I thought the kids followed game plan very well and just really played hard.”

Senior Laura Beach led Wyoming with 13 kills and a match-high eight blocks. Sophomore Emily Lewis added 12 kills. Senior Kayla Slofkiss added nine kills, seven digs and four blocks. Freshman Tara Traphagan had a career-best eight kills, while fellow freshman Madi Fields contributed 13 digs.

Beach said, “I think it (the win) really shows just how far this program has come in the past four years since Coach Callihan and the staff has been here. I think for us three seniors, personally all being from Colorado, it’s a real good one to hold onto.”

The Cowgirls used and 8-2 spurt midway through the first set for a 16-8 lead. The Rams rallied and tied the first set at 21. A late side-out by UW and a service ace from Beach closed it out 27-25.

Set two was back-and-forth. It featured nine lead changes and 16 ties. A block by Reed Copeland and another service ace, this time by Madi Fields, pushed Wyoming to a set win, 27-25.

Colorado State (14-7, 8-2) dominated the third set. They had a team hitting percentage of .423 in the set and never trailed in route to a 25-16 win.

Wyoming got out to an 8-4 lead in the third. The Cowgirls closed out the set on a 10-6 scoring run for a 25-18 set victory.

Callihan added that he figured they’d have to grind in order to have a chance.

“I think in the past Colorado State’s been so efficient offensively, that it’s hard to create that type of a game, but we were able to do that tonight. Our defense has been really good all conference season, and I think they were hitting .297 in the conference coming into this, so us holding them to .178… we put the clamps on them pretty good tonight.”

Wyoming returns to action Thursday against Utah State. The match is at 6:30 p.m. in the UniWyo Sports Complex.