The Trappers played the Sheridan Generals Wednesday night (after press time) at home. Northwest swept the Generals 3-0 when the two teams played in Sheridan Sept. 27.
Northwest (17-10, 7-4 — not including the match vs. Sheridan) took down Eastern Wyoming and Laramie County, each in straight sets, Friday and Saturday.
The two wins came following a rocky week for the team, which practiced only once amidst questions of players’ focus and passion.
At the direction of head coach Shaun Pohlman, practice was canceled and a players-only meeting was held to discuss how to best resolve any lingering issues and ensure the next time the Trappers stepped on the court, they did so with a team-first mentality.
Pohlman said it may have saved the Trappers’ season, which was righted with the weekend victories.
“Everybody, whether they were on the court or not, wanted to do well,” he said. “(They) wanted to win, wanted to fight. It was absolutely everything.”
The Trappers now sit in a tie with Casper College for second-place in Region IX’s North Division. A Northwest win over Sheridan coupled with a Casper loss to Western Wyoming (Wednesday night in Casper), would give the Trappers the No. 2 seed heading into the regional tournament and a first-round matchup with Eastern Wyoming.
The squad came out firing against the Eastern Wyoming Lancers (9-24, 1-10) and rode that fast start to a 25-11, 25-20, 25-20 victory.
“The girls were just really hungry,” Pohlman said. “It really looked like they couldn’t do anything wrong.”
Sophomore Ana Jakovljevic led the offense with 14 kills and had only three errors on 22 attempts.
Right-side hitter Megan Huddleston added seven kills and two errors on 12 attempts during just two sets of play.
It was the second-best kill total for the freshman, who has been steadily improving throughout the season.
“Megan came on very strong,” Pohlman said. “It was amazing to see the growth in each person and she’s absolutely the epitome of that.”
Both Trapper setters played well against the Lancers.
Mikaela Heble recorded 22 assists in 48 attempts through two sets Friday. The sophomore followed it up with a 44 assist performance against Laramie County.
“She’s on fire,” Pohlman said. “I don’t see anything slowing her down. She’s gone to another level.”
Freshman setter Kimber Call tallied 13 assists in 28 attempts during the final set of the Eastern match.
The 25-22, 25-22, 25-18 score against Laramie indicates a close-fought match, but Pohlman said his team actually played better against the Golden Eagles than it did against Eastern Wyoming.
The Trappers were led by sophomore Felicity Zegarelli, who returned to her dominant early-season form.
Zegarelli had 14 kills and no errors on 18 attempts for a season-high kill percentage of .778.
The outside hitter also had a team-high 14 digs, and was one of three Trappers to reach double-digit totals in that category.
Freshman libero Elisa Brooks had 13 digs and Jakovljevic had 11 to go with her 18 kills and .519 kill percentage.
Jakovljevic tallied six aces during the weekend.
Freshman Krystalyn Sloan notched six kills against Eastern and another eight against Laramie. The middle blocker was also the team’s most effective blocker, recording six block assists and one solo block over the weekend.
Freshman Vera Horstmann had three block assists in each game.
The Trappers have this weekend off as they prepare for the Region IX North Tournament, which begins Wednesday in Torrington.
Pohlman is counting on his team to maintain its newfound focus as it enters postseason play.
“Ever since they got in the right frame of mind it’s been incredible to see them flourish,” he said.