After a successful (and rare) home appearance early last week, the Northwest College volleyball team was back on the road over the weekend, losing back-to-back matches to Region IX foes Western and …
After a successful (and rare) home appearance early last week, the Northwest College volleyball team was back on the road over the weekend, losing back-to-back matches to Region IX foes Western and Central Wyoming.
The Lady Trappers (3-13, 2-6 in conference) failed to win a set against either team, but NWC head coach Valerie Rivera said her team continues to make strides.
“We went 0-2 this weekend, but I thought against Western we played really well,” Rivera said. “They are a very tough team in our region. They have a lot of offensive options.”
Against Central, the Lady Trappers played well defensively, but were “our offense just couldn’t get going,” she said. “It was a struggle.”
Western Wyoming 3, Lady Trappers 0
Against Western (13-6, 4-1 in conference) on Friday, NWC lost in straight sets: 25-15, 25-19, 25-17.
“We had a lot of touches, and I’m so glad that our blocking is starting to get stronger,” Rivera said. “We’re going to face big teams like Western in the region who can put the ball down, so hopefully our block can get there. But otherwise, our defense is playing phenomenal. Now it’s just, can our offense get rolling?”
Mollee Krum led the way in kills for NWC with 13, followed by Eirini Matsouka with nine and Sidney Ostergaard with three.
“Both of our outsides [Matsouka and Ostergaard] played really well, and Mollee [Krum] really pulled her weight in the middle,” Rivera said. “Our right side struggled a bit, but helped defensively with our blocks.”
Matsouka led the team in digs with five, followed by Geena Graf with four and Ryan Blaylock with three. Kaylie Critchfield had 24 assists.
“I loved the overall play of that day,” Rivera said. “I told the girls after that yes, losing hurts, but it’s what we’re learning every single set. We were touching blocks, we were putting the ball down. We were doing everything right. It comes down to who wants it more. They [Western] wanted it more than we did.”
Central Wyoming 3, Lady Trappers 0
After dropping the first set 25-14 to Central (7-11, 3-2 in Region IX) on Saturday, the Lady Trappers battled back in the second, keeping it close before ultimately losing 26-24. The third set was all Central, 25-15.
Rivera said her team had too many hitting errors.
“Our defense is continuing to do their job in keeping us in matches,” she said. “We’re doing a great job picking up balls on the back row — all our defenders are doing their jobs. Again, we just struggled offensively.”
Matsouka led with eight kills for NWC, followed by seven each from Krum and Ostergaard.
Blaylock led the team in digs with eight, followed by Graf and Madyson Chavez with six apiece. Critchfield had 22 assists, to go along with five digs.
“Geena Graf and Ryan Blaylock are picking up balls and reading the defense well. Our serve-receive is top-notch right now. Those two are definitely picking up their load,” Rivera said. “Madyson [Chavez] hasn’t been seeing a lot of action, but it’s her leadership on the court that really helps our defense.
The Lady Trappers have a road match against Sheridan (8-17, 3-8 in conference) Thursday, then are back on their home court Saturday against Casper (4-20, 3-7 in conference). Rivera said the team will continue to work on all aspects of the game this week.
“When we get into a hole, the mental aspect of our team goes down — I think that’s the issue we need to address,” Rivera said. “I don’t think it’s anything physical. It’s the mental side of the game we still aren’t grasping.”
Rivera said the Casper game especially has the potential to be the “diamond in the rough game” for the Lady Trappers.
“They’re struggling and we’re struggling, so out of the two struggling teams it will come down to who can come out the strongest,” she said. “It will be who can put the ball down, and who can stick to their gameplan.”