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Northwest volleyball upsets nationally ranked LCCC

Wins over Golden Eagles, Eastern Wyoming propel Lady Trappers to top of division

After a sluggish start to begin the season, the Northwest College volleyball team has been on a tear of late, winning six of its last seven matches to storm their way toward the top of the Region IX-North standings.

Last Friday, the Lady Trappers claimed the top spot all by themselves with a five-set win over Laramie County Community College — formerly the No. 1 ranked team in the region and No. 14 nationally. NWC followed that emotional win with a three-game sweep over Eastern Wyoming College to run their overall record to 10-10, 6-1 in division.

Lady Trappers 3, LCCC 2

“The sets that were won were probably some of the best volleyball we played all year and the sets we lost was probably the worst volleyball too,” said NWC head coach Shaun Pohlman.

The Lady Trappers won the first set 25-19. The Golden Eagles (21-6 overall) rallied to take the next two sets, 25-13 and 25-15.

NWC battled back to take the fourth set 25-18 to force the tiebreaker, closing out the match with a 19-17 win.

“That one was uber competitive for both sides,” said Pohlman.

The fifth set is traditionally only played to a score of 15, but a team must win by two points.

“Both teams were on it and we just happened to be on the upside of the momentum at the right time,” Pohlman said.

In the fifth set, the lead changed 13 times, with 12 ties. The final game was won with a block from Shania Warren, a freshman from Freedom, Wyoming.

It was “probably our best blocking performance of the year,” Pohlman said of the match.

That blocking came in the fourth and fifth sets, as the team recorded 10 in both; in the first three sets, the team had only a total of three blocks.

“What you have is sloppy freshman volleyball, and when I say it’s the best we’ve played, it’s not without error or inconsistencies,” Pohlman said.

As a team, NWC had 42 kills against LCCC, which averages to 8.4 kills per set. Prior to the match, the Lady Trappers were averaging 10.8 kills per set for the season

For the game, Warren had 10 kills and was a part of three blocks. Aleksandra Saric also had 10 kills and was part of four blocks. Holly Pittman had seven kills and was part of five blocks.

Kiandra Franklin had seven kills and was a part of three blocks, while Luana Rezende recorded six kills, six digs and five service aces.

Bre Donarski led the team in digs with 10, while Jess Ruffing followed with five digs and 20 assists. Demery Dean added five digs to go along with 16 assists.

“It’s probably the best we’ve played all season,” Pohlman said. “I also think that Laramie County was a better team than was played against us.”

Lady Trappers 3, EWC 0

After the high emotional win over LCCC, the Lady Trappers traveled to play Eastern Wyoming College (4-21 overall) — a team they had beaten earlier this season in four sets.

“There just wasn’t a lot of emotion and effort behind it,” Pohlman said. “[The game] ended up being a pretty lackluster effort to say the least.”

NWC won in three sets 25-16, 25-23 and  25-22.

Rezende and Saric each had seven kills, while Warren had eight and Pittman had six.

Ruffing ended with 16 assists and Dean 11.

Donarski lead in digs with 16, Rezende had 11 and Ruffing ended with seven. Rezende had six service aces, while Warren was a part of four blocks.

Next up for the Lady Trappers are two road games.

On Friday, NWC will play Casper College — a team that beat the Lady Trappers in five sets on Sept. 28 and is now third in the region. Within the region, NWC and LCCC each have a 6-1 record, while Casper sits at 5-2.

NWC is in first place and owns the tiebreaker because of its win over LCCC.

Despite the ranking, Pohlman stressed that the No. 1 seed is only “for the time being,” meaning the team is going to have to continue to work to remain in that top position.

There are seven games left in the regular season, and all are conference/regional games.

“This will be a pivotal game against Casper,” Pohlman said. A loss would put the Lady Trappers “at the mercy of what other people do when they play against Casper, but also how they do against LCCC,” Pohlman said.

Pohlman said that if the team can win on Friday, they will have some “breathing room” for the seeding for the Region IX North Tournament. He said being seeded No. 1 through No. 3 generally puts teams in a good spot.

“We want to control our own destiny,” Pohlman said. ”In order to do that we really got to take care of business and do the things that need to be done.”

The game in Casper on Friday will start at 7 p.m. On Saturday, NWC will face Sheridan College at 3 p.m.