WNCC captures 18th win with sweep over Casper

WNCC captures 18th win with sweep over Casper
(WNCC)
September 21st, 2022 | WNCC Sports Information

It wasn’t the prettiest of contests Tuesday night for the 7th-ranked Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team, but the Cougars dug deep and found a way in picking up their 18th win of the season with a sweep over Casper College 26-24, 25-19, 25-21.

It was a contest where there was no fire and energy in Cougar Palace at the start. Alex Hernandez, who had a couple big service runs in the match, said they started slow and finally warmed up in the second set and the third set.

“We came out pretty slow and that first set was pretty close,” Hernandez said. “We were making too many errors but in the second set, we cleaned it up a little bit and got going. We stopped making a lot of errors which helped.”

This was the fourth time the Cougars have played Casper in four weeks and while it is hard to beat someone three times, four times is even tougher. Hernandez said her team hung in there when they weren’t playing well and managed to get the win with some timely hitting and big service runs. And the energy level picked up as well.

“All our hitters are great and they all can put the ball down,” Hernandez said. “Once we get going on our service run (we are good). Energy off the court is everything. We need our teammates to be cheering us on just so the girls on the court can keep going.”

Serving was key as WNCC had nine ace serves, two each from Hernandez, Jenna Curtis, Erica Fava, and Anakaren Chavez. Curtis had 10 service points followed by nine from Hernandez and eight each from Ale Meoni and Fava.

As much as the Cougars didn’t play their best match, Casper College was playing one of their better contests. Casper entered the contest at 3-18 but they are much, much better than their record with the competition they have played and Tuesday night, they played like a nationally-ranked team.

WNCC led 8-4 early on two Meoni service points and led 11-6 on two Fava points. The Cougar temperature started to dip as Casper’s Siri Bates served three points to bring the Thunderbirds to 11-10. Curtis got a kill to stop the run, but it was short-lived as a missed serve put the service back in the hands of Casper and Aleigha Simeona had three points for a 14-12 lead.

WNCC woke back up with strong serving as Shanelle Martinez had two points to put the Cougars up 15-14 and then Curtis had a 5-point service run for a 21-15 off an Emmalei Mapu kill. Casper got a sideout to stop the run and Licia Echevarria was on fire from the service line with seven straight points to put the Thunderbirds up 23-21.

Meoni finally stopped the run, but it was temporary as Casper got a sideout and was one point, 24-22, from set point. Fava got a kill and then Meoni had two straight ace serves to put WNCC up 25-24. The Cougars ended the first set as Fava got the final kill and the 26-24 win.

WNCC started the second set slow, too, as Casper led 5-4 and led 7-6 after an ace serve by Raelee Samio. Mapu followed with a kill and Fava served four points for an 11-7 lead. WNCC led 15-10 after two Martinez points and went up 20-14 on a kill by Mapu. That was when Casper made a run as Quinci Mooren had three points to cut the Cougar lead to 20-18.

Fava got a kill and then Anakaren Chavez served the final three points for the 25-19 win.

The third set saw the fire that the Cougar team usually has as Hernandez got the opening kill and Curtis followed with two ace serves for a 3-0 lead. Hernandez got another kill to make it 5-1 and then stepped back to the service line and served six straight, including two aces for an 11-1 lead. WNCC went up 15-3 after two Fava points.

WNCC was on cruise control as Hernandez got a kill for a sideout to make it 19-11 and led 23-12 after three Jayla Brehmer points. Casper got a sideout but Maya Angelova got a kill for a 24-13 lead. That was when Casper’s Teylor Leauanae went on a six-point service run to make the third set interesting at 24-21. Finally, Curtis got the final kill for the match-winner.

No Cougar had a double-double in the contest, but there were near double-doubles and triple-doubles.

Fava finished with 10 digs, nine kills, eight points, and two aces, while Curtis had 10 points, nine kills, six digs, and two aces. Meoni finished with nine digs, eight points, five kills and a solo block, while Mapu had 10 kills.

Also for WNCC, Martinez had 32 set assists, four points, and five digs; Hernandez had nine points, four kills, and two aces; Chavez had 11 digs, three points, and two aces; and Brehmer had three points and an ace.

WNCC, 18-3, will be back in action Thursday and Friday when they host McCook and Lamar in South Sub-Region contests. Both matches begin at 6 p.m. Hernandez said they need to be ready to play and focused.

“We just have to stay focused,” Hernandez said. “We need to come into practice on Wednesday and have a good practice and just be focused and ready to go.”

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