WNCC WINS OPENER AT NATIONAL TOURNAMENT – updated
Second-ranked Western Nebraska Community College opened its 14th-straight appearance in the NJCAA national volleyball tournament in West Plains, Mo, this morning by sweeping Wallace State-Hanceville 25-19, 25-19, 25-11.
It was the third time in the last four years the teams have met in the opening round of the tournament, and WNCC has won in a sweep all three times.
The Cougars tallied 22 assisted blocks and had three players finish with double-digit kills in the sweeping win. It was the third time in four years that WNCC has opened up against Wallace State.
The Cougars didn’t open up the contest until midway through the second set. WNCC took the first set 25-19 and were actually down 6-2 and later 13-7 in the second set. That was when the momentum shifted with a bang. Luiza Martins went on a six-point service run that was aided by three big kills from Kat Agson and some timely blocking for a 14-13 lead.
The Lions tied the match at 15-15 and that was when the Cougar block party went into high gear as they shut down the Wallace State hitters for the second set. Late in the second set, Danika Youngblood, Megan Johnson and Priscila Mendes each had huge kills.
The third set was all WNCC as the Cougars jumped out to a 7 -1 lead on a Agson and Yoro Tovar block. The Cougars pushed the lead to 17-3 lead as Tasha Meyer served eight points behind fine-tuned blocking and hitting.
The Cougars continued playing strong as Allora Tanner got a kill and then teamed up with Tovar for a block for a 22-9 lead. Tanner then served the final point to push the Cougars into the Elite Eight.
Youngblood had a double-double of 10 kills and 13 digs, while two other Cougars managed double-figure kills, Agson with 12 plus 4 assists and Tovar with 11 kills, six assisted blocks and a solo block. Martins finished with 13 points, five assisted blocks, seven digs, and 31 set assists.
Also for the Cougars, Meyer 13 points, an ace, and eight digs; Alex Rivera 10 digs; Megan Johnson two kills and four assisted blocks; and Priscila Mendes three kills, a solo block, and seven digs.
The Cougars move on to the quarterfinals at 4:30 MT today, where they will meet one of just 2 teams to have beaten them this year…North Idaho, who swept Hutchinson CC 25-20, 25-15, 25-19.
WNCC has won 32 straight matches since losing to Iowa Western a week after falling to North Idaho. Iowa Western won its opener in a sweep and will play Central Florida at the same time the Cougars are in action…with the winners to meet in the semifinals Friday afternoon at 5:30 MT. The finals are Saturday at 4:30 MT.
Casper College…the Region 9 North champion…is the 13th seed and opens with #1 ranked but 4th seeded San Jacinto College of Texas at 2:00. They’re paired up with Tyler (Tx) JC and Redlands (Calif) CC…with the winners playing at 6:30 and the losers playing tomorrow.
First Round Results
Iowa Western CC over Temple College – 25-18, 25-18, 25-18
College of Central Florida over Western Texas College – 25-12, 25-21, 25-14
North Idaho College over Hutchinson C.C. – 25-20, 25-15, 25-16
Western Nebraska CC over Wallace State-Hanceville – 25-19, 25-19, 25-11
College of Southern Idaho over Faulkner Stat3 – 21-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-19
Hillsborough C.C. over Missouri State-West Plains – 25-15, 18-25, 29-31, 25-17, 15-8.
3 p.m. Tyler Junior College vs. Redsland C.C.
3 p.m. San Jacinto and Casper College
Second Round Games
5:30 p.m. – Iowa Western vs. College of Central Florida
5:30 p.m. – Western Nebraska vs. North Idaho
7:30 p.m. – Winners of 3 p.m. games.