“This is a big win for us,” said Trapper head coach Shaun Pohlman, whose team enters postseason play with wins against higher seeds Casper and Central within the last 10 days. “With it being sophomore night, the girls really wanted to win this …
Say this much for Trapper volleyball — they certainly have a flair for the dramatic.
Down 0-2 against No. 20 Central Wyoming, Northwest appeared to be on the ropes and reeling in their final regular season contest. Instead, the Trappers manufactured the mother of all turnarounds to shoot into the postseason with a 14-15 overall record and a 7-7 Region IX North mark.
“This is a big win for us,” said Trapper head coach Shaun Pohlman, whose team enters postseason play with wins against higher seeds Casper and Central within the last 10 days. “With it being sophomore night, the girls really wanted to win this one. We were just missing some small things early, but we made the adjustments and got things rolling.”
Northwest dropped both the first and second sets by identical 25-19 scores. Both games followed a similar pattern with the two teams playing even until Central produced short scoring runs just after the midway point.
The third game appeared to be following a similar script until Katie Burnett stepped up to serve for Northwest with the game knotted at 11-11. The freshman from Liberal, Kan., came up huge with three consecutive ace serves that brought a raucous midweek crowd in Cabre Gymnasium to life and turned momentum on its ear.
Northwest rode that wave to a 25-15 third set win, then scored 14 of the first 17 points in set four to force a tiebreak set. Despite an early lead by Central in that deciding match, the Trappers were able to rally back and finish the contest with back-to-back points and a 15-13 win.
Burnett finished with 15 kills. Flavia Oliveira, who sat out the first two sets for disciplinary reasons, added 14 kills while Cailey Washington had nine kills and Becky Downs eight, demonstrating the balance in the Trappers’ attack. Downs also had a team-best five blocks in the game.
Leah Schaal finished with 49 of Northwest’s 52 assists. Brecka Carrizales finished with five ace serves as the Trappers unleashed 13 total ace serves on the night. Four players finished in double figures for digs, led by Danielle Schaal’s 25.
The Trappers will face Laramie County Community College on Wednesday in Sheridan to begin Region IX North tournament play. Their next game will be against either Western Wyoming or Dawson in the double-elimination event.
“This should give us a lot of confidence,” Pohlman said. “We’ve beaten LCCC. We’ve won against Casper. Now we’ve won against Central. All that’s left in our region is to get a win against Western Wyoming.”