TORRINGTON, Wyo. – Karen Cordero pounded home 18 kills and the Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team held off the Eastern Wyoming College Lancers in a five-set thriller 25-15, 25-18, 23-25, 21-25, 15-9 in the Highway 26 Border War Tuesday night at Torrington, Wyoming.
The Cougars moved to 3-2 on the season in getting the win while the Lancers suffered their first loss of the season after going 4-0 at the Subway Classic in North Platte over the weekend.
Tuesday’s showdown was a classic battle with neither team giving up.
WNCC head coach Binny Canales said his team started well and then fought back to get the fifth set.
“We talked a lot about the things they [EWC] was doing. They were aggressive and we had to adjust the block, we had to adjust the defense, and the kids responded,” he said. “They did a great job and my hat off to EWC because they played great.”
Canales said the first two sets his team played well and then EWC picked it up in sets three and four.
“We went a little flat [in the third and fourth sets],” Canales said. “We weren’t talking. We weren’t moving. We were flat-footed and it took us out of our game. It got better in the fifth set. It will be an up and down type of year with a lot of freshman and it will happen. We just have to stay patient and keep plugging away and everything will be OK.”
EWC first year coach Dante Geoffrey said they didn’t start the match the way they played over the weekend, but they finally started to play like they wanted in the third and fourth set.
“We started a little frantic and not playing the brand of volleyball that led to success over the weekend in North Platte,” Geoffrey said. “We got back to our style of volleyball which is to make sure you serve and pass the ball well, and the offense will come. The communication picked up in the last three sets and we started to believe in each other and that is what made this a more exciting game.”
The Lancers matched the Cougars point for point in the final three sets and had plenty of momentum going into the fifth set.
WNCC raced out to a 13-3 lead in the first set and pushed it to 18-10 behind two Cordero points before winning 25-15.
The second set saw Luisa Beining serve four points for a 9-3 lead and the Cougars kept putting the right plays together to get the win 25-18.
The third and fourth set saw the Lancers switch gears, running to a 15-10 lead and led 21-15 before WNCC’s Anabelle Gillen served five points to knot the set at 21. EWC fought through the Cougar comeback and won the third 25-23.
The fourth set was a set of runs. WNCC led 12-8 before Lexi Trowbridge served four points to put EWC up 13-12. The Lancers went up 19-15 on five points from Charlene Hosly and then hung on for the 25-21 win.
The Lancers led 5-4 int eh fifth before a Cordero kill and then Gillen served five points with three kills from Cordero for a 10-5 lead. WNCC went on to win the fifth 15-9.
WNCC had several players finish with double figure stats. Leslie Mamai-Lagafuaina had 13 kills, 10 points, and five solo blocks, while Cordero had 18 kills. Also for the Cougars, Gabriela Canavati had six kills; Beining had 11 kills and four points; La’Treva Kennedy had five kills, Andrea Tsvetamova had 40 set assists and four points; Ana Costas has 15 digs and seven points; and Gillen had seven digs and 15 points.
WNCC, 3-2, will next be in action this weekend at the Salt Lake C.C. Invite where they will face the College of Southern Idaho and Salt Lake Community College.
Canales said it will be a tough tourney when they go to Salt Lake for four matches Friday and Saturday.
“We just want to keep growing,” he said. “We are going to play a bunch of tough teams. Western Wyoming is playing well. CSI is ranked No. 1. Salt Lake is always in the top five. It will be a lot of competition.”