Posted 8 months ago
By John Axtell
The top-ranked Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team finished with 29 blocks in sweeping past Casper College in its home opener 25-14, 25-15, 25-17 Tuesday night in Scottsbluff. The win pushes the Cougars to 5-0 on the season, while Casper falls to 1-3.
The Cougars finished with seven solo blocks, including two each from Allora Tanner and Leticia Silva. WNCC also added 22 assist blocks with six each from middle hitters Lindsay Wehkamp and Kylie Fa’amoe.
WNCC coach Giovana Melo said her team played better even better than they did last weekend when they beat 3 of the top 6 teams in the country, but still made minor mistakes.
“We are taking it one step at a time and every time we step out on the court we have to keep getting a little better,” Melo said. “We are still making a lot of mistakes but that is normal in the beginning. We just need to get more consistent to get ready for this weekend.”
From this past weekend to Tuesday night, the Cougars did take a big step forward and it was the frontline that stood out once again. Melo said they have plenty of offensive threats.
“I thought we got a little bit better tonight,” she said. “We worked on some little errors Monday in practice that we made over the weekend like communication errors and obviously we didn’t make as many tonight.”
As for the hitting, she said they have several players that can step up at any given time.
“We do have some potential on the hitting side,” Melo said. “But we still have to work on our errors because we take some swings and make errors that we shouldn’t be. All of our hitters have to get a little bit better.”
Against Casper, Leticia Silva and Kayla Martin paced the team offensively. Silva finished with 11 kills and seven blocks, including two solos. Martin had 10 kills, but put up an all-around match with two blocks, six points and five digs.
WNCC also got clutch kills from Fa’amoe with seven and then had seven blocks. Tanner finished with six kills and six blocks, while Mendes had five kills and Wehkamp had three blocks and seven blocks.
Leading the charge for the Cougars were their two setters. Luiza Martins had 25 set assists, six points, and five digs, while Morgan Broussard finished with 14 set assists, eight digs, and four points.Rachael McCracken stepped up once again defensively finishing with 18 digs.
As much as it seemed as the Cougars dominated the T-birds, Casper and WNCC actually had tight contests for the first half of all 3 sets.
In the first, WNCC held a slim 9-7 lead before Tanner hammered a kill and Martins served three points to push it to 13-7. Moments later, Mendes had three points, including two aces for a 17-8 lead.WNCC pushed the lead to 21-11 on 3 Wehkamp kills and won 25-14 on a Tanner kill.
The second set was tied 10-10 before Mendes had four service points as part of a 5-0 WNCC run. The Cougars then pulled away to win 25-15 on a Mendes kill.
The teams went back and forth in the third set, but WNCC took a 16-10 lead behind two service points from Morgan Broussard. Casper cut the margin to 19-15 on two points from Vivien Rechlin, but the Cougars took 6 of the final 8 points, putting the match away 25-17 on a Martin kill.
WNCC will next be in action this weekend when they take part in the Salt Lake tournament Friday and Saturday. The Cougars will face some tough competition, meeting up with North Idaho College, Snow College, Missouri State-West Plains, the College of Southern Idaho.
Melo says they will see where they stand after the weekend. “We just have to work on our errors and that is about it along with being more consistent.”