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October 21, 2008 3:01 am

NWC overpowers Rustlers on sophomore night

Written by Tribune Staff

Sophomore uprising

Northwest College celebrated sophomore night at Hank Cabre Gymnasium in Powell last Thursday by cruising to a 3-1 match victory against Central Wyoming College.

The match win was NWC's 14th straight since being swept in three sets by Western Nebraska Community College on Sept. 19 in the annual Wyoming-Nebraska Shootout. Thursday's victory, which was highlighted by a fast start for NWC, boosted the Lady Trappers' overall record to 33-7 and 8-1 in the North Sub-Region.

“I think we surprised Central by running a faster offense than we used against them earlier in the season,” said Flavia Siqueira, head coach of the Lady Trappers. “Our hitters were on top of the ball, and it looked like Central's defense was lost early in the match.”

NWC raced to a 6-1 advantage during the early stages of the first set, prompting CWC head coach Tiffany Stauffenberg to call a timeout in order to talk strategy with her Rustlers. The move proved to be of little help as NWC continued to dominate the set. The Lady Trappers, who led by as many as 15 points, won the first set 25-11.

CWC outside hitter Courtnie Trustem, a 2007 graduate of Powell High School, entered the contest with her squad trailing 10-3. When she checked out of the set, NWC was ahead by a comfortable 18-5 margin.

Trustem said the Rustlers fell in a hole early because of NWC's fast-paced approach on offense and due to the Rustlers playing timid.

“It's been a rough week for us because so many of us have been sick,” said Trustem. “Several of us have had or still have the flu, and our right-side hitter has pneumonia. I think that hurt us.”

Trustem also said when the Rustlers stepped on the court at Cabre Gym, she could sense something didn't feel normal. She attributed it to the recent rash of illnesses on the team and the shuffled lineup, which helped throw off CWC's timing and approach.

“The atmosphere felt weird,” Trustem said. “It just felt like something was wrong or a little off.”

The second set started much like the first one as NWC again established an early advantage. CWC fell behind 6-0 before a point by Tiffany Wilde put the Rustlers on the scoreboard. NWC, however, remained in control and led 11-3 by the time setter Abby Pollart checked in for the first time in the set. Pollart, a 2008 graduate of PHS, appeared to give the Rustlers a much-needed lift in the set and CWC reeled off three straight points before a kill by NWC sophomore Thabata Galvao put the score at 12-6 in favor of the Lady Trappers.

Pollart continued to set up the Rustlers for a number of kills and helped CWC cut its deficit to 12-9, but that's when NWC went on a 4-0 run for a 16-9 advantage. From that point, the Lady Trappers pulled away for a 25-14 decision.

The Rustlers, facing the prospect of being swept in three sets, rallied after the 10-minute break following the second set. NWC jumped ahead 10-4 following a kill by Gregg, but the Rustlers scored four straight points to cut the deficit to 10-8. Trustem, who checked back into the contest with CWC down 11-9, quickly registered a point to cut the Rustlers deficit to 11-10. CWC knotted the score at 12 and moved ahead by two before the Lady Trappers picked up two consecutive points by Angela Schuman. After Schuman tied it at 14, the two teams went into a see-saw battle, which saw the lead change four times in the next few minutes. Once the Rustlers pushed ahead 18-17, however, they were able to seal the deal and claim the third set 25-21.

Siqueira said the 10-minute break, like it has done on numerous occasions this season, caused her squad to lose focus.

“It seems like we lose our focus during the break,” Siqueira said. “It doesn't matter if we're on the road or at home, it always seems to affect us. We weren't focused, and Central came out and played a lot stronger.”

Any hopes the Rustlers had of continuing their comeback ended in the fourth set.

The score remained close in the early stages, and near the midway point, NWC was clinging to a 15-13 lead. At that point, NWC freshman outside hitter Rebekah DePesa scored two straight points to spur a 4-0 run that put NWC in control at 19-13. CWC would trim its deficit to four points on two occasions down the stretch before the Lady Trappers closed out the deciding set for a 25-19 decision.

“We did a better job of communicating on the court in the fourth set,” Siqueira said. “We also showed a little better focus.”

Coincidentally, Siqueira said her four sophomores were among the leaders for NWC during Thursday's victory.

Sophomore setter Carol Martin finished the match with 24 digs, 33 assists and two kills. Maddie Peterson, a sophomore outside hitter, added 11 kills, and Galvao finished with nine kills and 19 digs.

Lady Trapper Angela Schuman enjoyed a standout performance as well, finishing with eight kills and 16 digs.

“Angela had a great night,” Siqueira said. “Eight kills is a good number for her. She also finished with 16 digs, which was really strong for her. She came into the match averaging three digs per game.

“It was a great night for the team, particularly for our sophomores. They all played a major role in the outcome.”

In addition to recognizing its sophomores, NWC also honored its host families Thursday night. This year marks the first season the Trappers' host family program has been used in conjunction with sports teams at NWC, and it's proven to be a success. Prior to this season, the host family program was used with exchange students, which has included some athletes.

“The host families have been great,” Siqueira said. “It means a lot to the girls to have people from the community supporting them, and we're all very thankful for what they've done.”

Following Thursday's victory over CWC, the Lady Trappers faced Western Wyoming Community College at Hank Cabre Gymnasium in yet another North Sub-Region matchup.

WWCC, the team that handed NWC its only sub-region loss on Sept. 13, opened Friday's match with a 25-16 victory in the first set, but NWC came back to win the next three by scores of 25-11, 25-15 and 25-20 to extend its winning streak to 15 matches.

“I believe in the first set, our kids were too excited and too anxious to play, which caused some of them to lose focus,” Siqueira said. “But after that, we came back and played at our level. It was a great match to watch. Western had some great hits and rallies during the match. We scored 10 aces as a team, and I believe serving was a key factor in the match.”

Among NWC's leaders was Martin, who finished with 43 assists and 22 digs. Irelis Avendano added a team-high 15 kills, and Galvao and Peterson contributed with 12 kills each.

• Up next: NWC, which improved to 34-7 overall and 9-1 in sub-region competition with its victory over WCCC Friday, has three road matches scheduled this week against sub-region opponents.

On Thursday, they'll face Casper at 7 p.m. The Lady Trappers then will venture to Torrington to face Eastern Wyoming College Friday at 7 p.m. On Saturday, NWC will be in Cheyenne to take on Laramie County Community College.