It was a showdown between two top 5-ranked teams when Western Nebraska Community College and Northwest College volleyball teams faced each other in the WyoBraska Shootout Friday afternoon at Cougar Palace.
In the end, the fourth-ranked Cougars, behind 13 kills each from Lara Picht and Shaney Tiumalu each had 13 kills to lead WNCC to a four-game win over the No. 5 Trappers 19-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-20. It was the second win of the day for the Cougars, after sweeping past Utah State-Eastern Friday morning 25-17, 25-19, 25-17.
Picht, who tallied 12 kills against Utah State-Eastern, said the team played tough to pick up their 17th and 18th wins of the season.
"I think we played pretty good," the freshman from Brandenburg, Germany, said. "It was fun today and it was a team win. We all played well together. We have to stop the little mistakes sometimes, but I think we did a good job today."
A big key in the win was different individuals stepping up at key times, which helped the Cougars to the victory.
"Everybody was good and we changed a lot of people in the back row and a lot of people played," Picht said. "Everybody was good today I think."
The thing that helps the Cougars is they don't get down, and it showed against Northwest, dropping the first game and then falling behind in the second game. But, the Cougars put things together to get the four-game win.
"I have problems with the first sets," she said. "We just need time to get into the game and we get better and better. We were just motivated to beat them. We always find ways to come back. It is one of our strengths."
The Northwest contest was a testament of stamina. The Trappers trailed 17-12 and came back to grab a 19-17 lead and went on to win 25-19.
Northwest started game two on fire, running to an 8-2 lead. WNCC picked it up, behind some key serving from Barbara Rabanal to pull ahead 11-10. The two top ranked teams traded leads back and forth with Northwest holding a 22-21 lead. Picht then hammered a kill and WNCC went on to win 25-23.
Game three was just as intense as neither team enjoyed more than a two point lead. Northwest held a 21-20 lead before WNCC went up 23-21 behind two Fabiana Andrade service point to get the win 25-23.
WNCC started the fourth game well, jumping to a 12-6 lead and led 14-7. Northwest came back to slice the lead to 16-14, but three Jady Gerotto points, including an ace serve pushed the lead to 20-14. WNCC won the match on a Rabanal kill.
Andrade led the Cougars with a Triple double, finishing with 39 set assists, 12 points, and 14 digs.
Offensively, Andrade dished off the ball to plenty of hitters on the frontline. Tiumalu and Picht led with 13 kills followed by Rabanal with 11, and three each from Gerotto and Santanna Mitchell.
Tiamula also had eight points, while Gerotto had five points, Rabanal with six points, and three each from Keala Kaio-Perez, Fautino Manu, and Picht.
Kaio-Perez finished with 11 digs, while Katy Ernest had four, Rabanal three, and two each from Tiumalu and Gerotto.
WNCC was quite impressive in its tournament opener against Utah State-Eastern with a team effort.
Picht paced the Cougars with 12 kills along with two blocks. Andrade had another double-double, tallying 10 points and 27 set assists to go with two aces and five digs.
Also for the Cougars, Kaio-Perez had eight digs and two points; Manu had six digs and four points; Rabanal had six kills, eight digs, three set assists, and three points; Ernest had four digs; Gerotto had three points, six kills and two blocks; Tiumalu had four kills, three digs, and three points; Kennedy Cyza had two kills and a block; and Kaylee Spreier had a kill.
WNCC will round out the WyoBraska Shootout with two matches on Saturday, facing Garden City Community College at 10 a.m. and Sheridan College at 2 p.m.
Picht said the team has to continue to play together to go unbeaten in the WyoBraska Shootout and get the two wins.
"We have to play together and everyone has to give their best," she said. "We just need to play."
In other scores from the Wyo-Braska Shootout, beginning with the Scottsbluff location, Laramie County defeated Seward 17-25, 27-25, 25-23, 26-24; Utah State-Eastern topped Williston 25-20, 25-19, 28-26; Western Wyoming over Northeast Nebraska 25-13, 25-12, 22-25, 25-17; Laramie County over Northeast Nebraska 25-21, 25-20, 20-25, 27-25; Northwest College over Williston 25-20, 25-22, 25-13; and Seward over Western Wyoming 27-25, 25-23, 21-25, 21-25, 18-16.
First day scores at Torrington, Wyo., saw Eastern Wyoming top Trinidad 25-20, 25-22, 25-17; Casper over NJC 25-17, 25-20, 27-25; Central Wyoming over McCook 25-16, 25-22, 25-18; Sheridan over Garden City 17-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-13; EWC over McCook 25-18, 19-25, 25-16, 25-21; Casper over Garden City 25-22, 25-7, 25-16; Sheridan College over Trinidad State 23-25, 19-25, 25-9, 25-14, 15-8; and NJC over Central Wyoming 25-21, 25-22, 25-21.
@ Scottsbluff, Nebraska
10 a.m. – WNCC vs. Garden City; Utah State-Eastern at Sheridan
Noon – Garden City vs. Northwest College; Williston vs. NJC
2 p.m. – WNCC vs. Sheridan; Utah State-Eastern vs. Casper
4 p.m. – NJC vs. Northwest College; Casper vs. Williston
@ Torrington, Wyoming
10 a.m. – EWC vs. Seward; Western Wyoming vs. McCook
Noon – Central Wyoming vs. Northeast Nebraska; LCCC vs. Trinidad
2 p.m. – EWC vs. Northeast Nebraska; Trinidad vs. Western Wyoming
4 p.m. – Seward vs. Central Wyoming; McCook vs. LCCC