Cougars get 30th win of the season
The fourth-ranked Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team recorded seven aces as the Cougars notched their 30th win of the season with a 25-14, 25-12, 25-18 sweep over Lamar Community College Thursday night at Cougar Palace.
WNCC's serving definitely was a key factor in the win on Friday and Lindsey Wehkamp said the team has been working on their serving.
"We worked a lot on our serves from the beginning of the season and we are missing a lot less," she said. "I think that is a big positive."
The win marked the 17th straight year the Cougars have won 30-plus games dating back to Michelle Gomez' 1997 team that went 31-18. Wehkamp said that the losses last weekend were good for the team as it opened their eyes to what they need to get better at.
"Honestly, those two losses put a lot of fire into us and made us focus what we really need to do to win," she said. "We have improved since then [the losses to Tyler and Blinn]. Those losses were an eye-opener for us."
More importantly, though, WNCC stayed in control of capturing the South sub-region. WNCC moves to 6-0 in sub-region play and are a perfect 18-0 in sets won. Wehkamp said they played well for a second consecutive night.
"I think we played really well. We are getting a little bit more consistent every game and I think that is important for us to do, especially when it comes to the end of the season," the sophomore from Cimarron, Kan., said.
Another big key for the Cougars in the win was their intensity. Wehkamp said when they play with emotion and high intensity, they play better on the court.
"When we relax, just play our game, and have fun, cheer, be intense that is when we play our best," she said.
The Cougars offensive weapons were also spread out. Martin paced the team with 10 kills and three blocks, but Leticia Silva matched her jersey number with nine kills, including a thundering kill in the first set that set the tone for the rest of the contest.
Also for the Cougars, Mendes tallied six kills, Kylie Fa'amoe had five kills and five blocks, Gabriela Varela had three kills and two blocks, and Wehkamp and Amanda Schoene each had two kills.
Morgan Broussard the contest with 16 set assists and eight points; Luiza Martins had 11 set assists and three points; Mendes finished with five points, two aces, and eight digs; Rachel McCracken had five points, an ace, and six digs; Martin had eight digs, six points and an ace; Schoene had six digs and two points; and Erika Goodwin had five points and two aces.
Half of the Cougars aces came in the first set as the Cougars received two aces from Mendes, and one each from Martin and McCracken. McCracken had the big service run, putting together four points to open up a 14-9 to a double-digit 19-9 lead. Also in the first set, Silva pounded the floor with five kills.
The second set saw the Cougars continue to excel on all cylinders as Wehkamp had three service points to give the Cougars a 7-3 lead. Wekhamp later had a kill and a service point to push the lead to 18-9 and then Goodwin closed off the set with five points, including two aces for the win.
The third set was close as Lamar held a 14-12 lead on two Kindle Kirkham points. But a kill from Martin and then two points from Wehkamp put the Cougars in front 15-14. After Lamar retook the lead at 16-15, WNCC came back as Broussard racked up six straight service points as Martin had back-to-back kills and Silva hammered another rocket shot to the floor. Schoene then finished off the Lopes for the Cougars' 30th win of the season.
WNCC will wrap up the 3-day home stand with a contest against Trinidad State Junior College today at 1 p.m. at Cougar Palace.
"Trinidad is a good team and we just need to focus on our side and worry about us," Wehkamp said. "We just need to play our game."