Cougars preseason ranked No. 6
The Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team will be entering this season ranked number six in the nation after the National Junior College Athletic Association released its pre-season rankings last week.
WNCC, who was ranked No. 1 last season for much of the season, finished the season at 41-2 and finished in the top four for the eight straight year.
However, WNCC head coach Giovana Melo isn't upset about the ranking since it is not where you are ranked at the beginning of the season, but at the end that matters the most.
"I think it's a good spot for us," the fifth-year Cougar head coach said. "We have to work hard every day to get better. The rankings are just numbers and it doesn't say anything about the team in pre-season."
The College of Southern Idaho enters the season as the No. 1 team in the pre-season rankings followed by Tyler Junior College, College of Central Florida, San Jacinto College and Western Wyoming Community College..
The Cougars lost to Western Wyoming in the semifinals of the national tournament last season. The Cougars then finished third in the nation after dropping San Jacinto in five games, while Western Wyoming fell to Blinn College in the championship
Rounding out the top 10 after WNCC are Salt Lake Community College, Eastern Arizona College, Miami Dade College, and Iowa Western Community College.
There is just one other Region IX team that is ranked and that is Casper College at No. 18.
The Cougars will play a number of ranked teams this season, including many within the first three weeks of the season.
"I haven't really had the time to stop and look at it but we play a lot of them that are ranked," Melo said. "We have a pretty tough schedule this year."
The Cougars open the season Aug. 24-25 at the Iowa Western Invite, where they will play No. 8 Eastern Arizona, No. 10 Iowa Western, and NJCAA Division II-ranked Iowa Lakes Community College.
WNCC will continue it's tough schedule when they travel to face No. 18 Casper College, before taking off to Salt Lake City Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 where they will play No. 7 Salt Lake and No. 1 Southern Idaho. WNCC will then travel to the CSI Invite Sept. 7 and 8.
Melo said the tough schedule should pay dividends in the end and they are gradually getting better during the pre-season practices.
"We are not basing our focus on the rankings," she said. "We are just trying to get better right now. The season is a long process. We are taking one step at a time."
NJCAA Pre-season Volleyball Rankings
1, College of Southern Idaho
2, Tyler Junior College
3, College of Central Florida
4, San Jacinto College
5, Western Wyoming Community College
6, Western Nebraska Community College
7, Salt Lake Community College
8, Eastern Arizona College
9, Miami Dade College
10, Iowa Western Community College
11, Seminole State College
12, North Idaho College
13, Western Texas College
14, Seward County Community College
15, Wallace State C.C.-Hanceville
16, Florida State College at Jacksonville
17, Arizona Western College
18, Casper College
19, Lake Land College
20, Gadsden State Community College
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