A month after hosting its first scrimmage, Northwest College volleyball traveled north to Miles City, Montana, on Saturday for more scrimmages against Miles Community College and Dawson Community …
A month after hosting its first scrimmage, Northwest College volleyball traveled north to Miles City, Montana, on Saturday for more scrimmages against Miles Community College and Dawson Community College. Just like the first time around, the Trappers escaped the weekend unscathed.
NWC won both scrimmages 4-1, as all three squads agreed to play five sets, no matter the scores.
“We played well,” head coach Scott Keister said. “Kids are kind of coming into their own, and it was just good for the kids to get out there and feel it a little bit.”
The matches were played back-to-back within minutes of each other for NWC, making this stellar outing even more impressive.
“It’s tough, no matter who you play,” Keister said. “We saw a ton of improvement from the last time we played.”
Just four weeks ago, Northwest hosted Miles at Cabre Gym for back-to-back exhibition matches. In the most recent performance against Miles and Dawson, Keister saw leaps in team cohesion.
“The communication was better on the floor,” Keister said. “They felt a little more comfortable on the court, which I knew would happen.”
Individually, several Trappers stood out in Saturday’s exhibitions. Shante Falslev led the team with 21 kills in the two scrimmages combined, just ahead of Baylee Peterson, who had 20. Karli Steiner led the team with eight service aces and Jacie Walker recorded a team-high 81 assists.
On the defensive end, Devon Curtis’ six blocks were the most on NWC’s side, with Falslev also adding five. Paige Weimer led the team with 37 digs.
Of Northwest’s top performers, it was Peterson who improved the most since the Trappers’ first scrimmages. Keister said he thinks moving her from outside hitter to right-side hitter may have complimented her game.
“Usually when you move an outside to the right, they challenge you a little bit because they really like that position, but her success level on the right is so high,” Keister said. “She probably hit in the .400s [hitting percentage]; she really stepped up her game.”
While it was an overall sound performance from NWC, there were some areas of improvement Keister noted. “We have to work on blocking and our defense,” the coach said. “We’re going to spend all week on that.”
Despite these few areas that Keister plans to hone in on, he said he’s impressed with the girls’ continued desire to improve.
“It’s a testament to these kids that the whole bus ride back, they’re coming up and wanting to see stats and what they need,” Keister said. “That’s a special kid that does that. They want to get better. I think that’s a mentality that hasn’t been in this program for a few years.”
With just a handful of weeks remaining in the fall semester, this weekend was the Trappers’ final chance to scrimmage against fellow NJCAA programs. The team is still looking at other possibilities to get experience in match settings, so they are looking into the idea of playing an alumni match against former Trappers, or just having an intrasquad scrimmage.
Either way, Keister said he’s confident that these four exhibition matches have prepared the team well for the regular season, which will begin next semester.
“I think by the time we get to January, we’re going to be rocking and rolling,” Keister said.