After a mediocre 2020-21 volleyball campaign, Northwest College sophomores Jacie Walker, Sabree Adams, Paige Weimer and other members of the sophomore class wanted to come back stronger. So far, they …
After a mediocre 2020-21 volleyball campaign, Northwest College sophomores Jacie Walker, Sabree Adams, Paige Weimer and other members of the sophomore class wanted to come back stronger. So far, they have done just that.
The team has jumped out to a 14-1 start, which has resulted in Weimer, Walker, Adams and freshman Sidney Parker being ranked among the top 50 players nationally in different statistics.
Jacie Walker is the Trappers’ main setter. She is tied for No. 14 in the country for assists, (with 482 on the season), No. 5 in the nation for service aces per set (with an average of 0.73 a set) and No. 7 in assists per set (with an average of 9.84 per set).
Becoming one of the top assisters in the nation is not an easy task, and Walker had high praise for her teammates helping her get to that point.
“The only reason I get that stat is if they put the ball away,” she said, “so giving them the best possible option to get a kill and success for our team is just putting it in a spot for them.”
Walker said that, along with help from her coaches, she has been able to identify the weakest passers on the opposing team, which has led to so much success in the service game.
Paige Weimer serves as the libero for the Trappers. She is currently ranked No. 34 in the nation for digs (with 220 total) and No. 39 with an average of 4.40 digs a set.
Weimer feels as if she has taken control of the back line this season and has done a better job of being able to communicate and help her team get to their defensive assignments or getting down for the dig herself.
“She is really coming into her own and leading our defensive stance on the court,” NWC coach Scott Keister said.
Being a middle blocker for the Trappers has allowed Sabree Adams to rise to No. 19 in the nation for blocks per set with an average of 1.27 per set. She is also ranked No. 22 in the country with a .319 hitting percentage, No. 29 with 14 solo blocks and No. 30 with 48 assisted blocks — making her No. 18 in the country with 62 total blocks.
What has contributed to her being able to block at such a high rate this season?
Adams said her quick decisions at the net have allowed her teammates to adjust around her should she not get the block. Along with her vertical and lateral quickness, Adams’ mental quickness has allowed her to get to spots and get blocks all season.
“Middles do not get a lot of thanks and glamour,” Keister said. “I call them the blue collar workers on the court.”
Middle blocker Sidney Parker is ranked No. 44 in service aces with 23 and has an average of .49 aces a set to place her No. 47.
With the team returning a large majority of last year’s squad and only five freshmen joining the roster, the Trappers were hoping to make a jump after last year’s near .500 record.
“All 10 of us sophomores from last year had already built a bond and everybody meshed well with the new blood coming in and we added some great new talent,” Weimer said. “You could tell that how we ended last year did not sit well and everybody got better over the summer.”
Typically teams will take an off week to get healthy and regenerate before heading on a long road trip, but Keister said he pushed the team even harder since they did not have any concerning injuries.
“We had probably the toughest week of practice yet this past week,” Keister said. “We then gave them the weekend off to relax, visit family, reenergize and come back ready for match prep week.”
The team is heading into a tough stretch as they open up Region IX play on the road with three matches in three days.
The road trip kicks off against No. 18-ranked Western Nebraska Community College today (Thursday), then heads to Laramie County Community College and finishes off in Torrington against Eastern Wyoming College.
Keister said that both LCCC and EWC will be difficult places to play because of their gyms and environments with fans, but he believes that WNCC is the toughest team the Trappers will see on their schedule this year.
The question is, after a 14-1 start and heading into a difficult start to the conference schedule, has this team peaked?
“No,” Walker said. “I still think there is room to improve. It’s exciting.”