SALT LAKE CITY – The fourth-ranked Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team split a pair of matches in the first day of the Crystal “Inn”vitational in Salt Lake City, Utah, Friday afternoon.
The Cougars opened with their fourth straight win with a straight set 25-23, 25-16, 25-22 win over Western Wyoming Community College before falling to No. 15 Salt Lake Community College 25-19, 28-26, 25-19.
WNCC will finish out the Crystal “Inn”vitational with two matches Saturday, facing Central Wyoming College at 9 a.m. and then No. 2 College of Southern Idaho at 1 p.m.
The opening match was a battle early on before the Cougars flexed their muscles to capture the second set 25-16 and then get the third set 25-22.
WNCC finished the match with 44 kills. Enna Masaki led the way with 13 kills. Masaki also had two solo blocks, eight points, four digs, and five set assists.
Kaile Tuisimatatele finished with nine kills and five points, while Leslie Mamia-Lagafuaina had eight kills. Also for WNCC, Amyri-Grace Paris had six kills and three digs, and Gaby Canavati had eight kills and two digs.
Jayme Commins finished the match with 35 set assists along with eight points, seven digs, and two ace serves. Ana Costas had 21 digs and seven points, while Logan Belford had 10 points and eight digs. Adia Sherbeyn finished with four digs.
The second match with Salt Lake was a battle of two perennial powerhouses. WNCC showed plenty of fight, fighting back from several deficits and almost won a couplesets. But each time, the homestanding Bruins found the right chemistry to get the wins.
After falling 25-19 in the opening set, WNCC found themselves down 11-5 at one time in the second set. The Cougars, behind four service points from Masaki knotted the score at 17. Salt Lake then had set point at 24-22 before Commins rattled off three points to give the Cougars a 25-24 lead. Salt Lake found a way to get the second set 28-26.
The third set saw WNCC trail 20-15 and 24-16 before WNCC came back with two service points from Logan Belford, but fell 25-19.
WNCC finished the match with 23 kills and hitting percentage of .018. Canavati led the way with seven kills followed by six from Paris and four from Mamia-Lagafuaina.
Commins finished the match with 16 set assists and seven digs, while Masaki had four set assists, three kills, nine points, 15 digs, and two aces.
Also for the Cougars, Tuisamatatele had three kills, three points, six assist blocks, and two digs; Belford had four digs and four points; Sherbeyn had five digs and six points; and Costas had 14 digs and three points.