Posted 5 months ago
By John Axtell
Morgan Broussard and Luiza Martins finished with double-doubles and the second-ranked Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team gave head coach Giovana Melo her 250th career coaching victory with a 25-12, 25-13, 25-11 win over Eastern Wyoming College Tuesday at Cougar Palace. Afterward, the team presented Melo with an autographed game ball
Broussard finished the contest with 26 set assists and 14 points while Martins had 13 points and 21 set assists. Broussard also had two aces and both setters had crucial service runs to give the Cougars their 25th win of the season to just one defeat. It was also the Cougars’ 19th straight victory.
Martins said they owe a lot of their volleyball knowledge to coach and it was nice to be part of her 250th win. “It was great [to get this win for coach], Martins said. “We are always learning something new from the coaches and from the games,” she said. “Giving the 250th win to coach was amazing because she is always with us and she deserve every win.”
A big part of the win tonight was serving from both sides. The Cougars received a combined 27 points from the two setters, but Rachael McCracken and Lindsay Wehkamp each had nine points. McCracken also had two aces. Priscila Mendes and Kayla Martin each had six points. The team had six aces on the night.
Serving was crucial as The Cougars put together a number of runs that increased the lead. The Lancers, never had more than a one-point service run. In fact, the Lancers had just 11 points off of their serve.
EWC coach Verl Petsch said that sustaining the offense has been something they have been trying to work on. “That has been a problem for us all year that we end up playing too much defense and sometimes I think our serves are defensive instead of offensive,” he said.
“We have been working on that but we haven’t gotten over the hump yet. We have to run a better offense and a part of that is serve receive. We didn’t receive badly tonight, but we didn’t receive good enough to be real competitive.”
The one that that Lancers did do, however, is play strong early I the first and second set. In fact, Faith Banks started off the Lancers in the second set with three straight points, including an ace for a 3-0 lead. The Lancers kept that momentum going as they led 6-3 off another service point from Devin Williams.
Petsch was happy with how his team started the opening two sets. “I thought early on in the first and second set we played pretty well compared to how we have played,” he said. “Considering how strong the Cougars are, I was pleased with a lot of our execution. We just didn’t execute long enough and consistent enough in there. I thought our defense was pretty good overall especially with some of those pretty heavy spikes that came at us.”
WNCC coach Giovana Melo said that when her team got down in the second set, she just wanted them to work themselves out of it. “My thinking is that I am just going to let them do it [come out of a deficit],” she said.
“I have been trying to get them to focus and it has been up and down against certain teams. We will see how we do on the road now in Texas if we are still do that [go up and down] or get a little bit more focus.”
WNCC took their first lead of the second set at 7-6 after Martins has three straight service points. Later, McCracken had a six-point run that was highlighted by an ace serve and two kills from Martin and a block and kill from Lindsay Wehkamp to push the lead to 16-9. Broussard then went on a six-point run with two kills from Silva and Martin for a 23-10 lead.
The third set was pretty identical to the second as WNCC used strong serving. Broussard started off with five straight serves before Banks came back to serve up three points to cut the lead to 5-4. Later, Martins would serve up seven points to push the lead to 19-7. Erika Goodwin followed with three points before Gabriela Varela finished off the match with a kill for Melo’s 250th career win.
Jacey Holst led the Lancers with seven kills, while Brittany Belt, Tori Vineyard, and McKayla Peterson each had two kills. Banks finished with nine set assists, 11 digs and six points; while Belt had five set assists. Kailee Duryea and Adelle Cass each had seven digs, while Vineyard and Peterson each had three blocks.
WNCC received 11 kills from Kayla Martin, while Leticia Silva had eight kills and four blocks, Mendes seven kills and three blocks, Fa’amoe had six kills and six blocks; Varela with five kills and four blocks; Wehkamp with three kills and four blocks; and Amanda Schoene with three kills.
The Cougars (25-1) will now take part in the Tyler, Texas, Showcase this weekend when they face two No. 1 ranked teams on Friday in Division II top-ranked Cowley County Community College and Division I top-ranked Blinn College. They will then face No. 5 Tyler Junior College and No. 13 Central Florida on Saturday.
Martins it is a tournament the team has been preparing for. “I think we always need to get better and play better than the last time,” Martins said.
“We need to play the hardest that we can to show us that we can do it. We just need to keep doing what coaches say so at the end we succeed. This will be a hard tournament and will be important for us so we can see how it will be Nationals, and we can prepare ourselves to that.”
Melo said she scheduled this tournament because the team needs some tough games this month.“I think we have been pretty excited for this trip and we have been waiting to go on this trip,” she said.
“The tournament will be really good for us and that is the biggest reason why I decided to do it because we are at the point in our season where we need that competition. We will see how it goes. We can’t take anybody for granted; we just have to go there and play our best volleyball.”