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Trappers volleyball drops two on road

The Northwest Trappers volleyball team won the first set against the No.1-ranked squad in the nation but lost back-to-back matches for the first time this season in Rock Springs this past weekend.

The Trappers (5-5) were swept by the New Mexico Military Institute 23-25, 23-25, 14-25 Friday and then lost in four sets to No. 1 Western Nebraska Community College 25-23, 17-25, 19-25, 14-25 Saturday.



Head coach Shaun Pohlman said even though the Trappers lost to the Western Nebraska Cougars, he was pleased with the way the team rebounded from its poor Friday performance and thinks it will be better going forward because of the tough competition.

“It’s never fun to lose but at the same time if you can learn some things as you’re losing not all is lost,” Pohlman said. “We didn’t walk out of the gym on Saturday feeling sorry for ourselves.”

Pohlman said the team discovered some things about itself Friday evening. He said his team has been over-thinking on the court which has caused hesitation, second-guessing and has hindered the Trappers’ play.

“The discovery I feel like we’ve made is, instead of thinking so much about how to hit, or how to set or how to pass ... this is time to just let your body do the work,” Pohlman said.

The coach recognizes these early-season growing pains and hopes to improve as conference play starts.

“Unfortunately we got to take some hits. Losing hurts and it’s painful, but it’s growing,” Pohlman said. “Hopefully these aren’t lessons we have to repeat.”

Sophomores Ana Jakovljevic and Felicity Zegarelli led the Trappers’ attack. Jakovljevic has 12 kills and eight errors in 30 attempts against New Mexico and 19 kills and six errors in 44 attempts against Western Nebraska. Zegarelli totaled fewer kills but was more efficient, racking up 10 kills and only three errors in 19 attempts against New Mexico and 13 kills and four errors in 20 attempts against Western Nebraska.

No other Trapper reached double-digit kill totals for the two games.

Freshman Krystalyn Sloan had nine kills, freshman Jamila Biglow had seven, and sophomore Nicola Titonea had five (all against New Mexico).

Pohlman said the unbalanced offense was caused by multiple factors, including passing.

“If your pass isn’t there, you can’t get it to your middle,” Pohlman said.

The team is still looking for someone to produce consistently from the right side.

“We still have plenty of capable people on our right side but we’re still trying to figure out who’s going to step up,” Pohlman said.

Pohlman praised the preparation and performance of right side hitter Megan Huddleston, who scouted Western Nebraska Friday evening and said she would have an impact against them.

“She had put herself in position the night before where she was going to step up,” Pohlman said. “Her warm-up just blew everybody out of the water.”

Huddleston had five kills and only one error and a block against the Cougars.

Pohlman was also pleased with sophomore setter Mikaela Heble’s play against Western Nebraska. Heble averaged 8.6 assists per set against New Mexico, but 11.5 against Western Nebraska.

“The setter is the quarterback of the team,” Pohlman said. “I think she did an absolute great job between Friday and Saturday”

Biglow served up a pair of aces against Western Nebraska and was the only Trapper to serve in Rock Springs without an error.

“We’re OK on serving and passing has come a long ways,” Pohlman said. 

The Trappers open Region IX play at 7 p.m. today (Tuesday) at home against Central Wyoming College.

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