Sept. 11, 2008
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- After posting three wins last weekend, the UAB volleyball team will look to carry that momentum into this weekend's Wyoming Cowgirl Classic in Laramie, Wyo.
The Blazers open the event Friday at 12:30 p.m. MT (1:30 p.m. CT) against Cleveland State and will be back in action later that night with a 7:30 p.m. MT (8:30 p.m. CT) match against host Wyoming. UAB closes the tournament Saturday with a 5 p.m. MT (6 p.m. CT) contest versus Kansas.
"It's exciting to go out there and play," said UAB head coach Kerry Messersmith, a Wyoming native. "Plus the tournament provides some more good competition for us. Cleveland State was picked to win their league, and it's good any time you can play a Big 12 opponent and a Mountain West opponent."
UAB enters the event at 3-2 on the heels of three wins at last weekend's Gamecock Invitational hosted by Jacksonville State. The Blazers posted 3-0 sweeps of Ole Miss and Jacksonville State and pulled out a hard-fought 3-2 win over Creighton.
In the Creighton match, seniors Ivana Bozic and Nevena Stefanov turned in their best performances of the young season. Bozic, an outside hitter, tallied season highs with 19 kills and 20 digs, while Stefanov, a setter, did the same with 54 assists and 14 digs. Both players earned Gamecock Invitational All-Tournament honors.
"We're coming off a really great weekend, and we want to build on that," Messersmith said. "We are playing with a lot more confidence after last weekend. We just want to continue to get better and get ready for our conference season, which will be extremely competitive."
In the Cleveland State match, UAB will be facing a Viking team fresh of an appearance in the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Cleveland State is off to a 1-5 start this season, but the Vikings were the preseason favorite to win the Horizon League.
Wyoming enters their tournament at 0-6 on the season. The Cowgirls are under first-year head coach Carrie Yerty, with whom UAB is familiar from her time in Conference USA. Yerty went to Wyoming after 12 seasons as the head coach at Memphis.
In Saturday's matchup, UAB faces a Kansas team that enters the weekend at 4-2 after Tuesday's 3-1 victory over UMKC. The Jayhawks also own a win this season over Conference USA member UCF.
UAB will be meeting all three teams for the first time in program history.