LARAMIE -- Wyoming hosted day one of the UniWyo Invite Friday at the UniWyo Sports Complex, and much like it did the first tournament it hosted to begin the season, the Cowgirls split on day one of the invite.

The Cowgirls won a thriller over UC Santa Barbara in five sets, 17-25, 25-22, 28-26, 20-25 and 15-13 in the morning. At night, UW was bested by Northwestern in four sets, 13-25, 25-18, 14-25 and 11-25.

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The match against the Gauchos (2-6) was pretty much a back-and-forth affair for two and a half hours to begin the tournament. In set five alone, there were six ties and three lead changes in the race to 15 points. Wyoming was able to gain control to force match point thanks to back-to-back points that broke a 12-12 tie in the fifth. After a UCSB kill made it 14-13, KC McMahon’s 15th kill of the match sealed the comeback win for UW (5-3).

McMahon, along with Jackie McBride, let the Cowgirls with 15 kills each in the win. McBride hit .429 in the match and also had a solo block. Hailey Zuroske tallied her first double-double of the season, as she added 14 kills and led the Cowgirls with 15 digs.

Lydeke King added eight kills and hit .462 to lead UW. King also tied a career-best with seven total blocks against UCSB. For the match, the Gauchos out-blocked Wyoming, 15-8. Both teams had three service aces on the day, with Zuroske leading Wyoming with two.

Abby Olson came off the bench and led the way with 28 assists in the match. Kyra Slavik added 18, while Payton Chamberlain had 13. Wyoming hit .253 in the five-setter, with UCSB hitting .280. Kaitlyn Gehler tallied 13 digs, her fifth consecutive match with double-figure digs.

Against Northwestern (3-4), it was tough sledding as the Wildcats hit .371 in the nightcap, while the Cowgirls hit just .120. NW also had a 10-2 advantage in blocks and had six service aces to Wyoming’s two.

McMahon again led the way with 10 kills in the loss while McBride and Faith Waitsman added eight each. McMahon and Waitsman accounted for two of the Cowgirls’ three blocks on the night, Lexie Collins had the third.

Olsen led Wyoming with 17 assists and added six digs, while Chamberlain had 10 assists and a team-best seven digs. Teresa Garza came off the bench and tallied a pair of kills and had six digs of her own.

Wyoming will close the tournament Saturday evening with a 6 p.m., contest against Missouri at the UniWyo. It will be the Cowgirls’ final non-conference home match of the season.

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