The Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team wrapped up the Wyobraska tournament with a 3-2 record after splitting a pair of games on Friday and Saturday.
On Friday, the Cougars dropped a 4-set match to Laramie County Community College 25-21, 25-23, 23-25, 25-21 before downing Central Wyoming College in four sets 25-19, 25-22, 23-25, 25-17.
The Cougars wrapped up the tourney by going 1-1 on Saturday falling to Iowa Western Community College in a thrilling five-setter 25-12, 16-25, 25-17, 19-25, 15-12 and then finished off the tourney with a straight set win over Gillette College 25-19, 25-17, 25-13.
Taylor Tyser, who had 97 digs in the five matches, said they played OK on Saturday and they could have been 4-1 in the tournament or better, but they showed some fight on the court to get the three wins.
“I think the tournament went pretty well,” Tyser, the Laramie, Wyoming, libero said. “I think we definitely could have went 4-1, but we have a lot to work on and it is exciting to see where we go from here.”
Tyser said that after falling to Iowa Western in a five-setter on Saturday, they had to refocus and they did that to get the win over Gillette.
“I think our energy was a big thing in the wins,” Tyser said. “We are really tired and it was the last game of the tournament, but we really came together and had good energy and played as a team.
As for the three wins in the tournament, the thing that stood out in the wins was the team’s energy level.
“Energy for sure,” Tyser said. “It has been a weird last couple of weeks and when there are a lot of unknowns, you just have to have a lot of energy and talk to each other and be positive. That is what helps the most.”
The lack of energy definitely showed in the first set against Iowa Western as the Reivers jumped out to an 11-2 lead and later led 16-5 and never looked back for the 25-12 win.
The second set saw the Cougars energy re-appear as they battled Iowa Western early on before taking a 14-9 lead on three Kyana Gabriel points. The Cougars pushed the lead to 18-11 after two Megan Bewley points and led 24-13 on three Finja Schul points. WNCC won the second 25-16 on a Chloe Grady kill.
The third set was similar to the first as Iowa Western jumped out to a 7-2 lead and led 22-14 before winning 25-17.
Then there was the fourth set, which was similar to the second set. WNCC took a 10-8 lead after three Shanelle Martinez points. Iowa Western came back to tie the set at 10-10 and things were back and forth with four more ties before Gabriel finished off the set with five straight points for the 25-19 win.
The fifth set saw Iowa Western lead 5-1 and at one point 10-5 and hung on to get the 15-12 win.
WNCC was led by Gabriel with a double-double of 10 service points and 19 kills along with seven digs. Martinez also had a double-double with 40 set assists with 11 digs, three kills and six points.
Lilly Zwart tallied 10 kills with two digs, while Grady had five kills, and Cruz had eight kills with 12 digs and six points.
Charli Blackman finished with three kills; Bewley had five digs and two points; Tyser had 10 digs and two points; and Schul had two aces, five points, and four blocks.
Against Gillette, the Cougars started slow once again as Gillette ran to a 12-6 lead. It was at that point that the Cougars woke up as Cruz had two service points followed by three points from Schul to tied the first set at 13-13. WNCC took a 21-16 lead after Gabriel five points and won the first set 25-19.
The second set was all WNCC as they led 7-2 on four Tyser points with two aces and led 12-7 after two more Schul points. WNCC won the second set 25-17 on two Martinez points.
Martinez started the third set with three points for a 4-0 lead. Gillette came back to cut the deficit to 15-13, but a Cruz kill put the score at 16-13 and Bewley served nine straight points to give the Cougars the 25-13 win.
Cruz led the team with 11 kills along with two digs, and four points. Gabriel finished with 10 kills with five digs and six points. Also for WNCC, Zwart had eight kills; Bewley had five digs with nine points; Tyser had 19 digs, five set assists, three aces, and six points; Martinez finished with 26 set assists with 19 digs and nine points; and Grady had four kills while Schul had two kills and two digs with six points.
WNCC, 9-10, will be back in action Tuesday when they travel to McCook Community College to open the conference season. WNCC will then face Lamar Community College on the road on Friday before hosting Northeastern Junior College on September 27.
Tyser said the team knows what they need to do to build off of the 3-2 tournament performance.
“We found a few kinks that we need to work out and work on our blocking and more on our passing, and once we get those down and keep coming together as a team, I think we will do pretty good,” she said. “We really have to put all your focus in just one game instead of tournament-wise where you have to worry about four or five different teams.”