NWC volleyball upsets Sheridan

Home loss to Gillette for split of last two matches

Posted 10/10/19

The Northwest College volleyball team picked up its fourth win of the season last week, downing Sheridan on the road 3-1 Thursday.

The Lady Trappers were unable to duplicate that success Saturday …

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NWC volleyball upsets Sheridan

Home loss to Gillette for split of last two matches

Posted

The Northwest College volleyball team picked up its fourth win of the season last week, downing Sheridan on the road 3-1 Thursday.

The Lady Trappers were unable to duplicate that success Saturday at home, however, losing for the first time this season in Cabre Gym to Casper 3-1. NWC is now 4-14 on the season, 3-7 in Region IX North play.

“Going into Sheridan and getting that win was great — it was good to see the girls finally click,” said NWC head coach Valerie Rivera. “I think we should have won it in three, but getting the ‘W’ was what really mattered. Playing at home Saturday, we just weren’t ready. We didn’t come out swinging, and we were really timid.”

 

Lady Trappers 3, Sheridan 1

Against the Lady Generals (8-19, 3-10 in conference) Thursday, NWC jumped out to an early lead, winning the first two sets 25-21 and 25-23. Outside hitter Eirini Matsouka and middle blocker Mollee Krum set the tone for the Lady Trappers, and their teammates followed suit.

“Our offense really got going early,” Rivera said. “Typical Eirini [Matsouka] — another strong performance. But the person who stood out the most was our middle Mollee [Krum]. She ended up having eight kills on one error that night. It was great to have that production come out of the middle and have her kind of carry the weight a bit.”

Sheridan battled back to win the third set 25-22, after the Lady Trappers got into a hole early. Rivera told the team prior to the fourth set they needed to slow Sheridan’s momentum if they wanted to leave with the win.

“We were able to go on a run in the fourth set, and we never looked back,” she said.

Krum continued her stellar play in the fourth set, and when she showed she had the hot hand, Rivera funneled the offense through her. The Lady Trappers took the set, and the match, with a 25-19 win.

“Mollee probably got 90 percent of the balls in the fourth set, and I told the team, ‘Just keep giving her the ball — until she gets stopped, we do not stop giving her the ball,’” Rivera said. “She just lit up perfectly for us. And our defense again did their job, picking up balls. But overall, our offense was great that night.”

Krum led the team with 18 kills, followed by Matsouka with 15. Matsouka led in digs with eight, followed by Geena Graf with seven and Madyson Chavez with four.

Graf led in aces with three, while Ryan Blaylock and Kaylie Critchfield added two apiece. Critchfield finished with 36 assists.

After the match, Rivera said a couple of the sophomores couldn’t contain their excitement in beating a Region IX North opponent on the road.

“I told them as we walked into the locker room that we did everything right, we stuck to our game plan and did what we needed to do,” Rivera said. “This is how it should feel. Moving on, these are important games for us in order to establish ourselves in the region and get into the tournament at the end of the year.”

 

Casper 3, Lady Trappers 1

The offensive spark that guided the Lady Trappers to a win at Sheridan Thursday failed to materialize on the team’s home court Saturday in a 3-1 loss to Casper.

“Against Casper, we allowed errors to really dictate the game for us,” Rivera said. “We just never got going on offense. It was tough, because we had such a great offensive night Thursday [against Sheridan].”

The Lady T-Birds (6-20, 5-7 in conference) won the first two sets by identical 25-20 scores.

“We started that first set, and it seemed like we were still half-asleep,” Rivera said. “There was nothing Casper was throwing at us that should have had us playing on our heels. But we were allowing them to come in here and dictate the story for us.”

The Lady Trappers were able to regroup in the third set, winning 25-19.

“Going into the third, I told the girls, ‘OK, this is it, this is the moment of truth. Can you define yourselves as a team that can battle back to win this match?’” Rivera said. “I thought the girls played hard and focused in that third set.”

Unfortunately for the home team, it was too little, too late. Casper took the fourth set 25-17 to win the match.

“Going into the fourth set, we just struggled again,” Rivera said. “No hitter stood out — we just didn’t have any offense. It’s hard when we play so well against Sheridan, then come home and not produce any offense.”

Two Lady Trappers finished in double-digits for kills: Matsouka with 16 and Krum with 10.

Three players had double-digit digs, led by Chavez with 19. Matsouka followed with 14, while Graf added 12. Critchfield finished with 28 assists and three aces.

With five of the remaining eight regular season games scheduled at Cabre Gym, Rivera said the Lady Trappers need to figure out how to win at home if they want a shot at the Region IX Tournament.

“Our home court is still so foreign to us,” Rivera said. “It’s crazy to see that we’re more accustomed to playing on the road. Hopefully we can just let this game go and and not repeat the same patterns, because we’re going to be home a couple of more times. I want us to feel comfortable in our own gym, instead of being more comfortable on the road.”

NWC is on the road once again this weekend, taking on Eastern Wyoming Friday and LCCC Saturday.

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