Region IX Tournament Begins Wednesday In Sheridan
Shaking off a losing record (1-8) to begin the season, the Northwest College volleyball team completed its regular season schedule last weekend as the No. 2 team in the conference. The Lady Trappers lost against Laramie County Community College in four sets on Friday, but rebounded Saturday for a 3-1 win against Eastern Wyoming College.
NWC finished with an overall season record of 15-12 and a Region IX record of 11- 3. The regional record placed the Lady Trappers in second heading into the NJCAA Region IX tournament in Sheridan, which runs Wednesday through Saturday.
The runner-up finish in the conference marks the sixth consecutive year in which the Lady Trappers have finished in the top two in the Region IX North.
“There was not great things this season, but when we look at where the team started, there’s something special so far — and then can we make that even more special, hopefully we can, starting [this] week,” said NWC head coach Shaun Pohlman. He noted the team starts a whole new season on Wednesday at the NJCAA Region IX Tournament.
LCCC 3, NWC 1
On Friday, Laramie County Community College won the first set 25-20 and the second 25-17.
Pohlman said the Lady Golden Eagles “came out firing on all cylinders; they were ready to play.” He said his Lady Trappers “came out with a lot of energy and a lot of adrenaline.”
Pohlman explained the game of volleyball is about both power and finesse. A volleyball can come at you at speeds of 60 mph and whoever is passing needs to land the volleyball in a 10 by 10 foot area. The game has the most amount of people in the smallest amount of space compared to other sports.
“I think our finesse was completely off,” Pohlman said. “We really struggled with our hitting and finesse was not our strong suit.”
But by the third set, the Lady Trappers found their finesse. The game was tied 11 times, but had only one lead change. The Golden Eagles took an early 1-0 lead and remained up, 6-5 before NWC took the lead for the rest of the game. The Lady Trappers won 25-22.
Contributing to the win was NWC’s sideout percentage — how many times each team is serving versus their opponent scoring.
“That sideout percentage is key,” Pohlman said. “If you don’t side first ball, you give them a second chance; now they are scoring half the points every time they go back to serve.”
The fourth set started with the Lady Trappers in the lead — the only set in which NWC scored the first point — but the Lady Golden Eagles went on to build an eight-point advantage.
Up 21-13, it looked as if the Lady Golden Eagles were going to have a high scoring win, but the Lady Trappers mounted a comeback before coming up just short at 25-23. The win secured LCCC’s No. 1 spot in the Region IX-North Conference.
LCCC’s lone loss in conference play was to the Lady Trappers, and since that Oct. 6 loss, the Lady Golden Eagles have been beating their opponents in three sets.
For the game, NWC’s Shania Warren had 12 kills. Holly Pittman had 10 kills with one error on 16 swings. Aleksandra Saric had nine kills and Kiandra Franklin had seven kills with no errors on 14 swings.
Bre Donarski had 23 digs.
Both Pittman and Saric had six blocks and Franklin had five, while Demery Dean led in assists with 23 followed by Ruffing with 22.
NWC 3, EWC 1
On a day where NWC honored its sophomores, the Lady Trappers concluded their regular season with a win against Eastern Wyoming College in four sets: 25-15, 25-18, 17-25 and 25-17.
“Going into next week, we really tried to get as many people in as possible,” Pohlman said.
Luana Rezende, Saric and Pittman had eight kills each, while Warren followed with seven.
Donarski had 12 kills. For blocks, Pittman had five and Warren three.
Dean recorded three aces as well as 17 assists, while Kailee Becking followed with 11 assists. Jess Ruffing recorded nine assists for the match.
The win over Eastern Wyoming, coupled with Casper losing to both Central Wyoming College and Western Wyoming College, gave the Lady Trappers the No. 2 seed going into the Region IX tournament.
“Top three is where we wanted to be,” Pohlman said.