Posted 2 years ago

By Post Staff

  WNCC VB CasperTYLER, Texas — The second-ranked Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team rebounded quite nicely at the Tyler (Texas) Invite on Saturday after dropping two Top 5 matches on Friday.

               The Cougars play was quite impressive as they swept past top-ranked NJCAA Division II Cowley County Community College 25-18, 25-17, 25-20. WNCC followed that win up with a five-set victory over No. 12 College of Central Florida 18-25, 25-9, 17-25, 25-25-20, 15-12 to run their record to 27-3 on the season.

               WNCC head coach Giovana Melo said that she decided to coach a little different and it paid off.

               “I decided to I was just going to celebrate with them, get excited with them in the good things that they do because the more we talk about the errors, the more errors they make,” Melo said. “That was my mentality as a coach coming in saying I will celebrate with them. It seemed to work.”

               On Friday when the Cougars fell in back-to-back contests for the first time since Sept. 5, 2009, they made tons of errors that cost them in falling in five sets to top-ranked Blinn College after having a 2-0 lead. Today, the focus was just winning.

               The Central Florida contest was an epic encounter between former WNCC teammates Melo and Flavia Siqueira, who coaches Central Florida.

               “The thought about playing against her [Flavia] never crossed my mind,” Melo said. “My thought in my mind is that we had to go win no matter who we are playing. We just had to win. I didn’t want to get out of here in the negative.”

               The Cougars had an epic battle with Central Florida. Central Florida captured the first set 25-18 and actually led from start to finish, including grabbing a 7-0 lead.

               The second set was all WNCC as Kayla Martin served the Cougars to a 6-0 lead and they later led 14-6. Luiza Marins then went on a five-point service run for a 21-8 lead before winning 25-9.

               WNCC got behind the eight ball once again in the third set, trailing 12-4. The Cougars tried coming back, slicing the lead to 17-12 but they never could get any closer in falling 25-17.

               The Cougars, knowing their backs were against the door, came out in the fourth set with plenty of heart. WNCC and Central Florida were knotted at 9-9 before Martins went on a four-point service run to put the Cougars up 13-9. Central sliced the lead to 17-15 but the Cougars fighting hard to force a fifth and deciding fifth set with a 25-20 win.

               WNCC vaulted out to a 5-1 led in the final set on four Erika Goodwin points. Central tied the contest at 11-11, but Priscila Mendes served two points and the Cougars 15-12.

               WNCC had two players finish with double-figure kills int he contest. Mendes finished with 13 kills, five blocks and four digs, while Kayla Martin had 12 kills, four blocks, and a dig.

               Also for the Cougars, Gabriela Varela had eight kills and two blocks; Allora Tanner had eight kills, eight blocks, and four digs; Leticia Silva had five kills and nine blocks; Martins had nine digs and 24 set assists; Morgan Broussard had 14 set assists and three digs; and Goodwin had nine digs.

               Against Cowley, the Cougars had a balanced offensive attack as no WNCC player had double-figure kills. SIlva led the way with nine kills and six blocks, while Martin had eight kills, three blocks, and five digs.

               Varela, Mendes, and Kylie Fa’amoe each had three kills. Fa/amoe also had three blocks, while Varela had two blocks. Also for the Cougars, Martins finished with 15 set assists and six digs; Rachael McCracken had seven digs; Broussard had 13 set assists and three digs; and Goodwin had four digs.

               WNCC (27-3) will be back in action Tuesday when they travel to Casper College. After that, they will be home Thursday through Saturday to face Otero, Lamar and Trinidad State. Thursday’s home match is Think Pink night and breast cancer survivors will get free admission to the game that starts at 6 p.m.