The second set of Northwest College’s Friday volleyball match against Western Wyoming was the worst of the season. Hitting -.167 in the set, the Trappers lost 25-8, falling in a 2-0 …
The second set of Northwest College’s Friday volleyball match against Western Wyoming was the worst of the season. Hitting -.167 in the set, the Trappers lost 25-8, falling in a 2-0 hole.
Needing to win three sets in a row to earn their first Region IX win, something needed to change for the Trappers — and quickly.
“I told them, ‘It’s up to you,’” head coach Scott Keister recalled. “‘We have to finish this match, or we don’t. We could leave right now. Or you could go out there and fully embarrass yourselves, which you just did anyway. Or you could go out there with nothing to lose and just go for it.’”
This lit a fire with the girls, who rallied in the subsequent sets to earn a 3-2 win over Western Wyoming (26-28, 8-25, 25-22, 25-17, 15-13).
In set three, Keister made a significant change to his lineup, moving Karli Steiner from outside hitter to setter. The move paid off, with the team hitting .111, .435 and .160 in sets three through five.
“She did great,” Keister said. “Karli [Steiner] has great hands and a very high volleyball IQ. We need a leader as a setter, and she makes good decisions.”
The coach said his girls were “pumped” when they got to the locker room after their first win of league play, but the celebration didn’t last long. Minutes after, they shifted preparation to their Saturday contest against Casper College.
Though they came in with a strong game plan, the Trappers struggled to find a rhythm early on against the Thunderbirds. The sets got closer as the match progressed, but NWC was ultimately outplayed, falling in three sets (25-14, 25-19, 25-21).
“We couldn’t dig; we couldn’t block,” Keister said. “We were just flat.”
Though Casper is one of the premier teams in NJCAA volleyball, Northwest’s stagnance confused Keister. The coach said he didn’t know if the struggles stemmed from a tough travel schedule or the team’s youth.
Not many players stood out to Keister in the loss, but Emily Baumstarck’s production off the bench impressed the coach. He described Baumstarck as “the epitome of a team player,” and applauded her blocking effort.
Five matches into region play, the Trappers are halfway through their league slate. They currently sit toward the bottom of Region IX North, with a 1-4 conference record.
Despite the losing record in region play, NWC competed in all but one of its conference matches to this point. Keister knows his team very well could be 4-1, and that’s what he’s preaching to his team.
“We might have three more wins if we were two or three points better each set,” Keister said. “We have a lot of freshmen out there, so some of it might be growing pains.”
Before returning to Cabre Gym next weekend, the Trappers head to the eastern part of the state for matches against Eastern Wyoming and Laramie County — teams that narrowly defeated them last time. The weekend kicks off Friday at 7 p.m. against the Lancers.
Northwest 3, Western Wyoming 3
Kills — Baylee Peterson 13, Karli Steiner 8, Sabree Adams 6, Sayler Larson 4, Shante Falslev 4, Emily Baumstarck 4, Mollee Krum 2;
Assists — Steiner 23, Jacie Walker 11;
Aces — Paige Weimer 3, Steiner 3, Falslev 2, Walker 2;
Digs — Weimer 27, Falslev 11;
Blocks — Falslev 2
Casper 3, Northwest 0
Kills — Falslev 7, Adams 6, Peterson 5, Larson 3, Baumstarck 3, Krum 3, Steiner 1;
Assists — Steiner 27;
Aces — Weimer 2, Steiner 2, Baumstarck 1;
Digs — Weimer 10;
Blocks — Aubrianne Crosby 2, Baumstarck 1, Peterson 1