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November 04, 2008 3:00 am

Sub-Region champions

Written by Tribune Staff

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Lady Trappers Carol Martin (1), Angela Schuman (middle) and Irelis Avendano (5) celebrate following a kill by Avendano during Saturday's match with Miles Community College. Tribune photo by David Dickey

NWC's attention turns to Region IX North Tournament

Playing for the first time since making their initial appearance in the NJCAA's Division I volleyball poll, the Northwest College Lady Trappers secured a three-set sweep (25-21, 25-22, 25-12) against Miles Community College Saturday afternoon in Powell.

The win helped NWC land the North Sub-Region title along with the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye during the Region IX North Tournament, which will begin Wednesday in Cheyenne. It also gave the Lady Trappers (38-8 overall, 13-2 North Sub-Region) an unblemished 8-0 mark in matches played in Hank Cabre Gymnasium this season.


“Our sophomores were very emotional before the match,” said NWC head coach Flavia Siqueira. “This was their last one at home, and in the locker room before it started, some of the girls were crying. This one meant a lot to them, and there was a lot of added pressure to go out and win. I think that was part of the reason we weren't as strong starting out as we were in the last set of the match.”

NWC, tied for the 20th spot in the nation according to the national poll released last Wednesday, opened the match on shaky ground and trailed for a good portion of the first set.

With the two teams tied at 19, Lady Trapper Thabata Galvao registered a kill with an assist from teammate and setter Carol Martin to put NWC ahead. From that point, the Lady Trappers outscored the Pioneers 5-2 to claim a 1-0 advantage.

During the second set, NWC appeared to be more in charge at times, but the Pioneers remained in contention for the victory. After trailing 10-5, MCC fought back to trim its deficit to 11-10. As the set approached completion and with NWC ahead 21-20, the Lady Trappers secured four of the last six points to pull out a three-point victory.

Following the break after the second set, NWC emerged from the locker room and overwhelmed the Pioneers for a 13-point victory in the match's final set.

“The girls played at their level in the third set,” Siqueira said. “They went out and beat them like they were supposed to.”

Statistical leaders for NWC included Martin, who finished with 27 assists, five kills and 17 digs. Galvao contributed seven kills and 13 digs, and Marisa Shigetomi added 16 digs and delivered 13 passes. As a team, NWC finished with eight aces. Also, Siqueira noted that the Lady Trappers averaged five kills per hitter.

Lady Trapper sophomores who were playing in their final match at home were Martin, Galvao, Maddie Peterson and Angela Schuman. Of those four, only Peterson and Schuman played at NWC during the 2007 season when the Lady Trappers endured a 12-34 mark.

Schuman said it was difficult to not get caught in the emotion prior to the match.

“I'm so glad I came back,” said Schuman, who contemplated transferring to a different school following last season. “Flavia is such a great coach, and it's been so much fun to be a part of a turnaround like this. Maddie and I were talking before the match, and we both were saying

it's been an awesome feeling to finally call our parents after a match and say, ‘Yep, we won again.' Last year, it was the exact opposite.”

On Tuesday, Oct. 28, the Lady Trappers traveled and defeated Sheridan College in five sets (25-10, 20-25, 25-20, 25-27, 15-10).

“Sheridan came out and surprised us by playing very well on the back row, which is not one of their characteristics,” Siqueira said.

“Throughout the match, we had ups and downs and struggled a little bit on our back row, which is one of our main qualities.”

Martin led the Lady Trappers with 27 digs, 42 assists and four blocks. Irelis Avendano recorded 16 kills, and Katie Gregg added 15. Thabata Galvao also was one of the main contributors for NWC with 25 digs and seven blocks. As a team, the Lady Trappers finished with seven aces, but also missed on 10 serves.

• Up next: The Lady Trappers will attempt to keep their season alive with a strong showing in the Region IX North Tournament, which starts Wednesday at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne. The Lady Trappers will face the winner of the matchup between Dawson Community College and Miles City in a Thursday contest at noon. If the Lady Trappers can win the tournament title, they will earn a berth in the NJCAA Division I National Tournament in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Nov. 20-22.

“I know they can win it, but they have to be mentally ready to play,” Siqueira said about her team's chances in the tournament. “They've had a great season, but during the tournament, the record goes back to 0-0. Nothing else that has happened this season matters at that point. The key for our girls is going to be how they handle the mental part of it.”

Schuman agreed with Siqueira's statement about the mental edge the Lady Trappers will need to accomplish their goal of winning the tournament.

“We have to be able to put mistakes behind us when they happen,” Schuman said. “Coach has always told us that we have three seconds to get over a mistake and let it go. We also can't let anything else get to us. If we think a bad call was made, we have to put it behind us. We just have to play our game and put any kind of mistakes or distractions aside.”

• NJCAA Div. I Poll (final regular season poll, released Oct. 29): 1. Iowa Western Community College; 2. Western Nebraska Community College; 3. University of Arkansas-Fort Smith; 4. Blinn College; 5. San Jacinto College-Central; 6. Hillsborough Community College; 7.

Missouri State University-West Plains; 8. College of Southern Idaho; 9. Frank Phillips College; 10. Salt Lake Community College; 11. Miami Dade College; 12. Jefferson College; 13. North Idaho College; 14. Northeastern Junior College; 15. Hutchinson Community College; 16.

Laredo Community College; 17. Redlands Community College; 18. Temple College; 19. Midland College; 20. Northwest College; 20. Florida Community College.