Cougars win two more Saturday

The third-ranked Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team continued to flash its offensive depth in sweeping past two more opponents in the second day of the Wyo-Braska Invite on Saturday.

The Cougars opened up the day as Danika Youngblood pounded home 18 kills as the Cougars rolled over No. 20 Central Wyoming College 25-7, 25-19, 25-19, before the Cougars combined for 40 kills in a sweep over Northwest Wyoming 25-17, 25-13, 25-20 to finish the tournament unbeaten at 4-0.

Luiza Martins, who recorded 72 set assists in the two matches, likes the offensive arsenal she has to choose from.

"I have confidence in all the girls [hitters]," Martins, who only has been setting since 2009, said. "I think having all these hitters along with good passing has helped me a lot. They [the players] give me confidence so I can play with the girls."

Overall, while the Cougars swept both opponents, Martins said they have a habit of sometimes letting up and letting teams back into sets. Fortunately, each time that happened, one of the hitters would come through with a big kill.

"I think we played well," Martins said. "I think we need to be better because in the third games we go down and we need to do a better job at that. But, we are playing good. We are always ready to play."

Martins, the freshman setter from Brazil, said she has learned how to play American volleyball.

"I love playing with this team and I am learning a lot of things," she said. "I am from Brazil and there we play way different than here. When we are winning, it is just an amazing feeling."

WNCC has been doing a lot of winning as of late. The Cougars have won 15 straight matches and have dropped just four games in their last 14 matches. Saturday was another dominating performance from the Cougars.

In the opening match against ranked Central Wyoming, The Cougars blew out the Rustlers in the first set, winning 25-7. They accomplished it with great serving as martins started things with a four-point service run, followed by Tasha Meyer with a four-point run to put the score at 13-3. Later, Alex Rivera had a four-point run for a 20-6 lead before Martin finished out the set with four straight points.

The next two sets were tighter. In the second set, WNCC held a 20-13 lead only to watch Central Wyoming come back to cut the lead to 22-19. After a missed serve, Martins finished off the set with two service points.

The third set saw the Cougars build a 16-11 lead only to watch the Rustlers cut the deficit to 16-13. WNCC rebounded as they went up 21-14 on two Youngblood points and a kill. She even had a backrow kill during her serving rotation that she sent so hard that it made a dent in the floor.

WNCC had a multitude of offensive starts in the win. Youngblood finished the match with 18 kills, three blocks, 17 digs and 10 points. Priscila Menes and Megan Johnson each finished with seven kills. Johnson also had five assisted blocks, five digs, and four points; while Mendes had two blocks, 10 digs and four points.

Also for the Cougars, Agson had two kills; Yoro Tovar had three kills and three blocks; Martins had two blocks, 39 set assists, 13 points and 15 digs; Tasha Meyer had seven points and 10 digs; Alex Rivera had 18 digs and two aces; and Allora Tanner and Taylor VanderWerff each had two kills.

The Cougars kept spreading around the offense in the win against Northwest. In the opening game, WNCC built a 10-5 lead and led by as much as 16-11 before the Trappers sliced the lead to 18-16. Agson then powered home a kill and Meyer served four straight points for a 23-16 lead. WNCC won on a Youngblood service point.

The second set saw the Cougars hold a slim 7-6 lead before starting to open up the contest in taking a 16-9 lead and led by as much as 19-10 on two Youngblood kills. Rivera finally finished off the set with three service points as Tovar hammered home the last point.

WNCC opened the third set 6-0 before the Trappers came back to tie things at eight on five points from Ana Jakovljevic. Both teams were knotted at 12-12 before WNCC opened things behind a Tanner kill and three Rivera points for a 16-12 lead.

Northwest battled back to within two, 21-19, but after a missed serve, Meyer served up two points and WNCC would won the match on a Trapper missed serve.

Youngblood led the way with 13 kills and nine digs. Tovar also pounded home 11 kills with three blocks, while Mendes had seven kills, three blocks, and eight digs.

Also for the Cougars, Agson had four kills; Martins had two kills, two blocks, six digs, and 32 set assists; Johnson had two kills; Rivera had 13 digs and two aces; and Meyer and five digs.

Martins said the team is a little tired right know, but they will be ready for next week when the Cougars host four matches, beginning on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against McCook Community College. After that, they will host Otero Junior College on Thursday, Lamar Community College on Friday, and Trinidad State on Saturday.

Martins said this team has improved by leaps and bounds from the beginning of they year.

"We can't compare the improvement from the beginning of the year," she said. "At the beginning we were lost and now I think we are improving step by step and we are playing well."



Saturday's Scores

@ WNCC

Cowley County over Sheridan, 25-12, 25-16, 25-14

Casper over Air Force Prep, 25-11, 25-14, 25-23

WNCC over Central Wyoming, 25-7, 25-19, 25-19

Casper over Dawson, 25-18, 25-17, 25-9

Cowley County over Laramie County, 25-20, 25-12, 25-15

WNCC over Northwest, 25-17, 25-14, 25-20

Laramie County over NJC, 25-19, 22-25, 25-15, 33-31

@ EWC

Northwest over Dawson, 25-12, 25-15, 25-7

Western Wyoming over Lamar, 25-8, 25-12, 24-26, 25-22

Seward over EWC, 25-27, 25-23, 25-18, 25-27, 15-13

Western Wyoming over NJC, 28-26, 25-18, 21-25, 25-19

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