Freshman Sophie Lau and Sarena Bartley combined for 18 kills in leading the sixth-ranked Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team to a 25-17, 25-15, 25-15 win over Eastern Wyoming College Tuesday at Cougar Palace.
The Cougars, who moved to 4-1 on the season, utilized plenty of depth in the match.
Bartley, who finished with eight kills said the team played well.
“I think the team played phenomenal. We have been practicing hard and we have been conditioning and running for this,” the freshman from Ridgefield, Washington, said. “Honestly, I think we played really well. In the third set we put Brooke in the middle, which is different and then had Enna on the right side and Jayme setting. I think that was good for us.”
It was the first home match of the season for the Cougars and Bartley said there was some nerves but nothing too bad for the freshmen.
“of course there was a lot of nerves, but we were prepared,” Bartley said. “We have been practicing here and the fans and all the people made it exciting for us. We are hyped about that. At times we got a little bit shaky and a little bit nervous but we got it out though.”
Bartley’s eight kills was second to Lau, who powered home 10 kills. The Cougars also had plenty of other players step up offensively. Brooke Kaawa, Kaile Tuisamatatele, and Joise Maldonado each had three kills.
Bartley said there is plenty of talent on this team.
“There is a ton of talent on this team,” Bartley said. “I knew from the first day of practice that this was going to be a great team. We just have to take it step by step.”
The match was a battle even though WNCC won in straight sets. The first set saw WNCC lead 6-5 before a Bartley kill and then Tuisamatatele reeled off five straight points for a 13-5 lead. The Cougars kept the margin to the end for the 25-18 win.
The second set was a different contest as both teams settled in. WNCC held a 5-2 lead only to watch EWC come roaring back on a kill by Lissette Lefforge and three points by Jaysie Thomas. WNCC came back to grab a 15-10 lead on five points from Syenna Masaki. Kaawa added to the lead with a five points, including three straight aces for a 24-13 lead before winning 25-15.
The third set saw EWC grab a 5-4 lead after a point form Helena Khouri. Masaki followed with a five point service run to give WNCC a 10-5 lead. The Cougars pushed the lead to 15-8 on a Jayme Commins point.
EWC kept battling as Kylee Tresch served five points to bring the lancers back to within one, 15-14. Kaawa stopped the service run and then Logan Belford served up seven points for a 23-14 lead before Masaki served out the match.
WNCC’s net play was the difference as Tuisamatatele and Commins each had a solo block. Tuisamatatele had two assist blocks along with Kaawa.
Commins finished with 10 set assists while Masaki had 15 set assists along with 13 points and five digs. Kaawa tallied six points with three aces. Also for the Cougars, Belford had nine points, while Genesis Benitez had four points with 17 digs.
WNCC will be back in action this weekend when they travel to Great Bend, Kansas for the Barton Cougar Classic where they will face Pratt Community College, Clarendon College, Indian Hills, and Barton.
EWC, 0-7, will have a week off before their home opener next week against Northeastern Junior College.