COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – The No. 6 Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team split a pair of matches over top 10 teams Friday in the first day of the Reiver Invite in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
The Cougars opened the season with a four-set win over No. 7 Indian Hills Community College 25-23, 25-22, 23-25, 25-19 behind 18 kills from Brooke Kaawa. WNCC followed that with a heart-wrenching five-set loss to No. 3 Iowa Western Community College 14-25, 14=25, 25-15, 25-20, 15-12.
WNCC will wrap up the Reiver Invite Saturday when they face Hillsborough Community College and then Eastern Wyoming College.
In the win over Indian Hills, Kaawa tallied 18 kills with nine points. WNCC also received 11 kills from Sarena Bartley. Bartley also had 10 points, while Kaila Tuisamatatele tallied eight kills and 12 points. Syenna Masaki finished with 41 set assists. Genesis Benitez led the way with 12 digs while Sophie Lau had seven.
The Iowa Western match was a battle. WNCC captured the first two sets before watching the third-ranked Reivers come back to prevail in five sets.
The Cougars had four players tally double-figure kills. Kaawa and Lau each had 14 kills, while Bartley tallied 13. Tuisamatatele finished with 11 kills.
Kaawa finished the game with a double-double, adding 10 digs while also serving seven points.
Kirstee Trees had a nice night at the service line, finishing with 16 points. Trees also had nine digs.
Benitez led the way defensively with 23 digs. Masaki finished with 45 set assists while getting 11 digs.