Will Face Otero Wednesday In Region IX Play-In
The Northwest College volleyball team closed out its regular season with a pair of home losses over the weekend, though they didn’t go down without a fight.
After losing to Eastern Wyoming 3-1 Friday, the Lady Trappers lost a five-set heartbreaker to Laramie County Community College on Saturday, finishing the regular season with a 5-21 overall record, 4-13 in the Region IX North.
“The girls played with a lot of grit this weekend,” said NWC head coach Valerie Rivera. “Definitely not how we wanted to end our season by taking two losses at home, but having our fan support has been unreal. They have continued to come back and have continued to show support regardless of the outcome. I think we played with a lot of determination, we played with intention and we played with heart.”
EASTERN WYOMING 3, LADY TRAPPERS 1
Friday night was Sophomore Night for the Lady Trappers, as the team honored Caitlyn Costa, Madyson Chavez, Eirini Matsouka and Geena Graf for their dedication to the program.
The Lancers (23-11, 9-3 in conference) played spoiler, however, taking the match in four sets (25-12, 17-25, 25-15, 25-16).
“The aspects that I liked from the team’s play against Eastern was playing until the whistle was blown,” Rivera said. “We always emphasize that we have to play from point 0 to point 25 and I believe that we did that well on Friday night.”
Matsouka led NWC with 18 kills, to go along with eight digs; Mollee Krum followed with eight kills and Costa with six.
Graf led in digs with 10, while Kaylie Critchfield finished with 30 assists.
“Eirini [Matsouka] and Mollee [Krum] carried the load for us offensively,” Rivera said. “They were able to keep us in the match by scoring when we needed the points most.”
LCCC 3, LADY TRAPPERS 2
Against LCCC Saturday afternoon, the Lady Trappers dropped the first two sets (25-23, 25-11) and appeared poised to make an early exit.
“Heading into the third set against LCCC I told the girls that if you want this match, it is not over by any means,” Rivera said. “It means that we play from this point on at a different level. We play point for point and we communicate at a higher level.”
The Lady Trappers responded, battling back to win the next two sets (25-23, 25- 21) to take the Golden Eagles to a fifth and deciding set. LCCC (10-22, 8-10 in conference) built a lead early in the fifth, holding on to win the set and match 15-8.
“Volleyball is such a momentum game that it can go either way,” Rivera said. “I think that my girls were like, ‘Alright, we have nothing to lose so we might as well go out with a bang.’ I am glad that they were able to prove to themselves that they can compete at a high level and can compete with any team that is on the other side of the net.”
Matsouka and Krum both had stellar outings, finishing with 22 and 17 kills, respectively.
Matsouka also led in digs with 11, followed by Ryan Blaylock with 10 and Graf with seven. Kaylie Critchfield had 45 assists and a pair of aces, while Blaylock, Matsouka and Krum also served two aces apiece.
Devon Curtis and Krum had four solo blocks apiece.
“The players that stepped up for us were all those that were on the court,” Rivera said. “Starting that third set we got into a rhythm, and we just had this fire and desire. I think offense and defensive players did their job and they laid their bodies out on the floor and it showed.”
The Lady Trappers are on the road Wednesday to Sterling, Colorado, for a play-in game against Otero Junior College (19 8, 12-4 in conference) to see who advances to the Region IX Tournament. The Lady Rattlers may have the better record, but Rivera said she likes her team’s chances.
“We’re set to play Otero on Wednesday morning, and we have to win to get into the tournament,” she said. “Once we win our first match, we are re-seeded and then it’s double elimination from that point on. God willing we are there until [Nov. 9].