Cougars win top 20 showdown

Youngblood leads Cougars

ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. -- The Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team received 11 kills from Danika Youngblood as they fought back from an early first-set deficit to register a sweep over No. 18 Western Wyoming Community College 25-23, 25-15, 25-18 Monday evening in Rock Springs, Wyo.

It was the second-ranked Cougars 27th win of the season and the team's 21st straight victory. WNCC has also swept its last 10 opponents and have not dropped a set in 33 straight sets.

Youngblood said she was pleased with how the team played Monday night after a week off between matches.

"We are pretty happy of how we played today," the sophomore outside hitter said. "We can still get better, but I thought we played with a lot of intensity and a lot of energy."

Youngblood said she was worried for a tad early in the first, but had confidence that her team would rebound.

"I don't know about the team as a whole, but I was nervous at the beginning," she said. "Then we got it out and started to play. I think the way we came back in the first set gives us a lot of confidence and I think during the other games we had our confidence, too. We never lost that losing point."

Rebound from a slow start is what they did. Western Wyoming jumped on top 7-1 to open the first set and led by as much as 11-5 and 13-9. But a couple backrow kills by Youngblood kept the Cougars close. Finally, Megan Johnson and Yoro Tovar had back-to-back kills to slice the deficit to 20-19.

A few rotations later, a Luiza Martins service point tied the set a 21-21. Western Wyoming came back to take a 23-21 on two service points, but Priscila Mendes pounded home a kill and then Mendes had three service points, which was aided by two kills from Youngblood and the winning kill by Alex Rivera for the 25-23 win.

The second set was knotted at 5-5 until Tasha Meyer had two service points for an 8-5 lead. WNCC pushed the lead to 16-10, only to watch the Mustangs cut the lead to 16-13. Martins stopped the streak with a kill and then Tovar served up six straight points to lead 23-13 before WNCC won 25-15.

The third set was back and forth with neither team taking more than a three-point lead. Western Wyoming led only once, at 3-2, while WNCC enjoyed three point leads on many occasions. Finally, WNCC started to open up the contest. Leading 15-13, Youngblood served up two points for an 18-13 lead and then Tovar had two smashing kills for a 21-15 lead. Tovar had the final two service points while Youngblood hammered home the match winner.

Youngblood finished the contest with 11 kills, three blocks, five digs, and five points; while Tovar had nine kills, 11 points, three blocks and three digs. Also for the Cougars, Mendes had six kills, 12 digs and eight points; while Johnson had six kills and two blocks. Martins finished with two kills, three digs, and 33 set assists; Kat Agson had four kills, two blocks, and three digs; Rivera had eight digs and three points; and Tasha Meyer had two digs and six points.

WNCC, 27-2, will continue its road swing with three matches this weekend beginning Thursday at Otero Junior College. They will then face Lamar Community College on Friday and Trinidad State Junior College on Saturday.

Youngblood said this team is really meshing well right now and she isn't surprised with how well they have been playing.

"I think we are playing well as a team and we are going hard. We can always go harder but i think we are doing good as a team," she said. "I know we are a really talented team and we still have a lot to work on, but I am not surprised [by the 33 straight set wins]."

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