The Western Nebraska Community College captured their 13th straight victory by sweeping past Eastern Wyoming College 25-14, 25-16, 25-10 Tuesday night in Torrington, Wyoming.
The win for the fourth-ranked Cougars was their 19th of the season and stretched their set winning streak to 35. WNCC has not dropped a set in the last 11 matches.
WNCC’s win Tuesday also capped off a torrid schedule where they played seven matches in six days.
WNCC’s win was highlighted by several players that stepped up during the match. Kirstee Trees, who finished with eight points, said the team started to click after a slow start.
“We started off a little slow, but I think after we woke up we did what we needed do to,” Trees, the sophomore from Riverton, Wyoming, said. “We need to learn to start off better in the beginning and push all the way through in all three games and not start slow at all.”
A big reason for the strong play in the match was the Cougars’ serving, WNCC committed just five service errors in the match.
“It was a really good serving game for us for sure,” Trees said.
Trees said that Tuesday’s win was also a good way to finish off the flurry of matches in the past six days.
“It feels good to come away with a few wins during the stretch,” she said. “Now we get a break and we know what work we have to put in for the next week, week and a half. We should go from there.”
Tuesday’s match was something to feel proud of in the way they played from midway through the first set to the end.
WNCC did, however, start slow as Kylee Tresch served two points for an 11-7 lead. After a WNCC timeout, Jayme Commins put together an 8-point service run to put the Cougars up 16-11. Leading 20-13, Sarena Bartley pounded down a kill and then Syenna Masaki finished off the match with five points for the 2-14 win.
The second set was back and forth for a spell. WNCC held a slim 8-5 lead but then started to raise the bar on clutch service runs behind two points each from Genesis Benitez and Lauren Shaul and then four points from Commins for a 19-7 lead. WNCC won the set 25-16.
EWC held a 4-3 lead in the third set and trailed 10-7. That, however, was as close the Lancers would get as Bartley hammered down a kill and then Trees branched out for eight points and a 19-7 lead. Commins later had two points before WNCC won the match 25-10.
Trees said she really likes how this team is playing right now.
“I think now with the new rotation, we are playing really well and now coach can pull anyone off the bench and they can go in and do the job,” she said. “We have a really deep bench so that really helps.”
Commins finished with a near triple-double. The Ogallala setter tallied 26 set assists, 13 points, nine digs, and a solo block.
Masaka also had a big game, finishing with 12 kills, eight digs, seven points, three set assists, and a solo block; while Bartley had six kills.
Brooke Kaawa and Kaile Tuisamatatele each had four kills and three digs. Tuisamatatele also had three solo blocks, two assist blocks, and two points, while Kaawa had six points.
Also for the Cougars, Aneta Faksova had a kill and an assist block; Benitez had 13 digs and two points, Shaul had three points; Joise Maldonado had two kills; and Kadara Marshall had a solo block.
EWC was led by Alex Simmerman with 10 digs and four set assists. Dawson Sharman led the team in kills with five followed by Shaniah Freeseman with four. Freeseman also had two blocks.
The Lancers also got nine digs from Helena Khouri, six assists and six points from Kylee Tresch.
EWC, 2-15, will be back in action this weekend when they travel to Casper College on Friday and Sheridan College on Saturday for Region IX North conference games.
WNCC will be off until next week Thursday when they travel to McCook Community College. Trees said the team will take the break to rest but also work on fundamentals as they get ready for the final month of the season.
“I think we definitely will work on fundamentals and make our game even more smooth and learn how to start the matches strong,” Trees said. “We are going to push at practice.”