Trapper volleyball shows fight to start Keister’s tenure

Posted 1/28/21

Scott Keister had been the head coach of Northwest College volleyball for 380 days before coaching his first official match as a Trapper.

After COVID-19 pushed the fall season to the spring …

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Trapper volleyball shows fight to start Keister’s tenure

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Scott Keister had been the head coach of Northwest College volleyball for 380 days before coaching his first official match as a Trapper.

After COVID-19 pushed the fall season to the spring semester, Keister was antsy to get the 2021 season underway last weekend at the Western Nebraska Crossover in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. 

“The night before, I got the most butterflies,” Keister said. “Just that there is a lot of excitement with this program and it’s not just talk anymore; let’s put the proof out there. It was just like, ‘Yeah, let’s go.’”

The Keister era started on the right foot, with the Trappers cruising to a 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-11) victory over Trinidad State Junior College on Friday.

Though they picked up a win in three sets, the Trappers struggled to start. Errors led to a negative 0.040 hitting percentage in the first set, but because Trinidad State also struggled, NWC was still able to take that set, as well as the next two.

After that, NWC dropped three matches to end the weekend. Two were straight-set losses — against Western Nebraska  (25-13, 25-13, 25-16) and McCook (26-24, 25-18, 25-18) — while the Trappers fell to No. 11 Otero in four sets (27-29, 25-18, 25-19, 25-21). 

Though the Trappers lost the last three matches of the weekend, Keister felt like the team competed in every set, improved its performance every match and showed growth from prior seasons. 

“Normally, I’d come away from a 1-3 weekend pretty upset, but with where this program has been, we didn’t get crushed,” Keister said.

In the four matches, the coach pointed out blocking and defense as two areas that could use improvement. 

“It was kind of a wake-up call to our team that this program isn’t going to change overnight,” Keister said. “It’s going to take some grinding and tough lessons. Something we have to work on is finishing sets, but we were right there.”

Individually, the coach said Baylee Peterson, Paige Weimer and Shante Falslev were the three standouts from the opening weekend.

Peterson and Falslev were the offensive leaders, with 43 and 35 kills on the weekend, respectively. Of Peterson’s 43 kills, 17 came in the loss to McCook, and the freshman also added 11 service aces in the four matches.

Weimer led the way defensively, posting 63 digs. Peterson and Falslev ranked second and third in this category with 42 each on the weekend.

The coach said every player on the roster had their moments, but “Baylee, Shante and Paige carried the team.”

NWC has a quick turnaround before its next set of matches. The Trappers head southeast to Cheyenne this weekend for a four-match tournament hosted by Laramie County Community College. 

The Trappers have already seen two of their opponents this weekend — Otero and Trinidad State. Keister thinks this will help prepare his girls for the later stages of the season. 

“It’s nice to kind of implement stuff into practice this week and almost emulate region play, where we go there and they come here,” Keister said. “I think after a weekend and some training, the jitters are out now and we can focus.”

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