NWC gains momentum

Team goes 1-1 on the weekend heading into region tourney

Posted 3/30/21

In a month filled with brackets, upsets and “Cinderellas,” Northwest College volleyball has a lofty goal as it enters the Region IX tournament. 

“I want to be Oral …

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NWC gains momentum

Team goes 1-1 on the weekend heading into region tourney

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In a month filled with brackets, upsets and “Cinderellas,” Northwest College volleyball has a lofty goal as it enters the Region IX tournament. 

“I want to be Oral Roberts,” head coach Scott Keister said. 

As the Trappers head to Casper as the North division’s No. 5 seed, they hope to mimic Oral Roberts University — the 15-seed in the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament that made a Sweet 16 run. The Golden Eagles entered March Madness as heavy underdogs and still made it far — something Keister thinks his team is capable of. 

“I want a team that plays with passion and heart and grit,” Keister said. “Who knows? Why can’t it be us? I think we can make a run.”

Heading into the postseason, NWC has picked up steam.

In their most recent matches, the Trappers played exceptional volleyball, hitting above .300 in four of six sets. They cruised to a 3-0 win (25-12, 25-21, 25-14) Friday over Western Wyoming before falling in three sets (25-16, 25-12, 25-21) to Casper the next day. NWC finished the regular season 13-11 overall and 5-8 in Region IX play.

Before the recent home matches, the team’s focus was becoming more sound offensively, and that paid off in the 1-1 weekend. NWC hardly trailed against Western Wyoming, fueled by a near-400-person crowd at the sophomore night match.

“The nice part was that they went all out for every ball,” Keister said. “When you do that, balls that are normally down are somehow up.”

Freshman libero Paige Weimer explained that, “we were ready to go.”

“We meant business,” Weimer said. “We were hungry.”

A slow start proved fatal against Casper, putting the Trappers in a 2-0 hole. The Trappers were unable to take the third set, either, but showed greater fight in the 25-21 loss, hitting .345. 

The effort was also much improved from the week before, when the Trappers played what Keister described as their worst match of the season — a three-set home loss to Central Wyoming. Between focused practices leading and an intense sophomore night crowd Friday, NWC played team volleyball for the majority of the weekend. 

“We worked really hard all week and it showed,” freshman Karli Steiner said. “It was kind of a letdown in the first two against Casper, but we played well in the third set.”

Now that the Trappers have shown growth on the offensive end, the team’s focus is sharpening its defensive efforts. If they can play sound volleyball on both ends, the Trappers know they can compete with anybody in the region. 

“It’s a mind shift, and we just gotta go,” Keister said. “This week, it’s all about defense, and we struggled in practice today, but I’m not too worried about it.”

NWC opens the Region IX bracket against Otero, a team the Trappers have played twice this year. They are 1-1 against Otero, losing in four sets the first time around but rebounding with a five-set victory at the Laramie County Tournament.

With a losing conference record entering the tourney, not many people are betting on the Trappers. But that’s only motivating them to be an Oral Roberts-esque Cinderella.

“The whole region thinks we’re last, now we’re ready to go and prove them wrong,” Weimer said. “We felt that win, and we’re ready to go.”

    

NWC 3, Western Wyoming 0

Kills — Baylee Peterson 13, Shante Falslev 13, Mollee Krum 6, Sabree Adams 6, Sayler Larson 3;

Assists — Jacie Walker 21, Karli Steiner 16, Paige Weimer 2, Adams 1;

Aces — Walker 2, Peterson 2, Weimer 1, Falslev 1, Steiner 1;

Digs — Steiner 16, Falslev 11, Weimer 9, Walker 7, Peterson 4, Krum 2, Adams 2, Baumstarck 1, Curtis 1;

Solo blocks — Krum 1, Adams 1

    

Casper 3, NWC 0

Kills — Krum 8, Falslev 7, Steiner 6, Larson 3, Peterson 3, Emma Teichert 2, Adams 2, Baumstarck 1;

Assists — Steiner 19, Walker 13;

Digs — Weimer 10, Falslev 10, Teichert 5, Walker 5, Peterson 5, Curtis 2, Steiner 2;

Solo blocks — Krum 1

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