Two days after a five-set defeat to Laramie County Community College, Northwest College’s volleyball team scrapped the traditional Monday morning practice for something …
Two days after a five-set defeat to Laramie County Community College, Northwest College’s volleyball team scrapped the traditional Monday morning practice for something different.
Keith McCallister from NWC outdoor education came into Cabre Gym to teach the Trappers lessons about team building. From jumping off platforms while tethered with ropes to playing team-based games, coach Scott Keister found these activities more beneficial than traditional volleyball activities after a couple of disappointing losses.
“I think part of it was our mental game, so we got them up in the rafters, doing all kinds of crazy stuff,” Keister said.
The Trappers opened the 2021 region slate Friday with a 3-1 loss to Eastern Wyoming College (26-28, 31-29, 25-21, 25-19) and lost the final two sets against LCCC Saturday to fall 3-2 against the Golden Eagles (20-25, 25-17, 19-25, 25-20, 15-6).
Though EWC and LCCC are considerably better than some of NWC’s early-season opponents — both entered with winning records — what disappointed Keister most was the team’s lack of offensive cohesion. Northwest hit below .100 in every set against Eastern Wyoming and hit .000 or below in each lost set against LCCC.
From passing to offensive errors, the Trappers couldn’t push past their conference foes, despite entering both matches with strong scouting reports.
“It was the worst we’ve had all year,” Keister said. “Offense is something we can control. It was us hitting the ball out; it was us not passing the greatest. It was things we can control where our errors were.”
Northwest led in both matches, leading 1-0 against EWC and 2-1 against LCCC. Keister traced his team’s late collapses to “getting too comfortable” with leads.
Following Saturday’s defeat to LCCC, the coach talked with his team — which consists of 11 players — about finishing matches.
“We talked a lot about how our attitudes and how our approach to the match spills onto the court,” Keister said.
While disappointed about the matches’ results, Keister couldn’t fault his team too much in its late-match efforts. Only one of NWC’s wins has come in five sets, so battling for wins is a rather new concept for the group.
“We really haven’t been tested like we were in these matches,“ Keister said. “You get punched in the mouth, how do you respond to it?”
Before playing their next match in Powell, the Trappers will spend three weekends away from home. First, they face Central Wyoming on Friday at 6 p.m.
Though the team enjoys playing in front of the Trapper faithful, Keister said a break from the home atmosphere may actually aid his young team.
“We can get out of this mindset that parents and friends are here or whatever,” Keister said. “The home crowd helps us, but it can hurt us, too. Hopefully by the time we get back home, we can figure some of these things out and get our focus.”
Eastern Wyoming 3, Northwest 1
Kills — Karli Steiner 14, Baylee Peterson 14, Shante Falslev 7, Sayler Larson 2, Sabree Adams 2; Assists — Jacie Walker 29; Aces — Walker 2, Falslev 1, Peterson 1, Emma Teichert 1; Digs — Paige Weimer 23, Falslev 17, Aubrianne Crosby 17, Walker 10, Steiner 9, Teichert 8
Laramie County 3, Northwest 2
Kills — Peterson 11, Steiner 9, Adams 7, Falslev 5, Mollee Krum 2, Teichert 1, Larson 1; Assists — Walker 28; Aces — Weimer 4, Walker 4, Steiner 1, Adams 1, Peterson 1; Digs — Weimer 20, Walker 11, Steiner 8, Peterson 5