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NWC volleyball sweeps weekend competition

Sophomore outside hitter Ana Jakovljevic aims for the line as she records one of her 20 kills against Laramie County Sunday afternoon. Jakovljevic helped the Trappers to a straight-set victory against the Golden Eagles. Sophomore outside hitter Ana Jakovljevic aims for the line as she records one of her 20 kills against Laramie County Sunday afternoon. Jakovljevic helped the Trappers to a straight-set victory against the Golden Eagles. Tribune photo by Dante Geoffrey

The Northwest Trappers volleyball team is putting it together at the right time.

 

The Trappers (12-8, 4-2) are undefeated in October, having won three straight and five of their past six games.

“I think we’re starting to figure out exactly what we’re capable of,” said head coach Shaun Pohlman.

Northwest won six straight sets as it swept the Eastern Wyoming Lancers and Laramie County Golden Eagles this weekend.

The match against Laramie County was scheduled for Friday but when weather didn’t allow the Golden Eagles to get any further than Casper it was rescheduled for noon Sunday.

Saturday’s match against Eastern Wyoming was played as scheduled and the Trappers came away with a 25-6, 25-9, 26-24 victory.

Sophomore Ana Jakovljevic recorded 10 kills and six aces in just two sets of play.

Up two sets to none, Pohlman said he wanted to see what he had in some of his bench players.

“I chose to play some others and get them reps,” Pohlman said. “You never know when an injury is going to happen.”

The Golden Eagles nearly stole the third set. They led 24-22 when freshman Trapper Kristen Bailey took the ball to serve for Northwest.

Eastern Wyoming called a time out after the Trappers scored to make it 24-23, but that didn’t stop Bailey. She returned to the court with two consecutive aces to give Northwest the lead.

“You knew death was knocking at the doorstep and you were just hoping for something to happen and Kristen made it happen,” Pohlman said.

Bailey had been impressive during serving drills and Pohlman said the stats backed up what he was seeing in practice.

“We started looking at statistics and she was showing to be the most effective,” Pohlman said. “All in all it’s a really good position to be in when you get an opportunity to play a serving specialist that can play defense as well.”

Vera Horstmann added nine kills for the Trappers and Felicity Zegarelli had six kills with two aces.

The Trappers kept rolling Sunday as they beat Laramie 25-22, 25-23, 25-10.

Jakovljevic amassed a whopping 20 kills and only two errors on 28 attempts and recorded four aces and two block assists. The sophomore ended a phenomenal week of play in which she had 44 kills, 20 aces and 18 digs.

“I think that’s absolutely crazy to have more aces than digs,” said Pohlman, who submitted Jakovljevic for National Player of the Week consideration.

Jakovljevic hit for a .571 kill percentage against Rocky Mountain Oct. 1, while posting a .769 rate against Eastern Wyoming and .643 versus Laramie.

Zegarelli added nine kills and three aces. Horstmann had six kills and Krystalyn Sloan had six as well.

Sophomore setter Mikaela Heble wracked up 39 assists and averaged 13 per set, her best mark of the season. She also recorded three block assists and an ace.

Pohlman said the team has been working hard to improve its passing, and it showed this weekend.

“They took the passing seriously and really stepped up,” Pohlman said. “Hopefully this is the start of something that is going to continue.”

Libero Elisa Brooks led the team with 13 digs against the Golden Eagles.

The Trappers will remain in Powell this week and will host Casper College (14-12, 5-1) Saturday at 3 p.m.

Northwest struggled with the Thunderbirds when they lost in three sets Sept. 28 in Casper, but Pohlman hopes his team can reverse its fortunes at home.

“I really think we’re going in the right direction,” he said.

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