The Western Nebraska Community College Volleyball fourth-place finisher recovered from his first loss of the season on Friday night and won two sweeps on Saturday on the final day of the Crystal “Inn” vitaional at Salt Lake Community College.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The 4thth-ranked volleyball players from Western Nebraska Community College rebounded from their first loss of the season Friday night and grabbed a pair of sweeps on Saturday on the final day of Salt Lake Community College’s Crystal “Inn” vitaional.
The Cougars opened the day with an impressive win over the College of Southern Idaho 25-21, 25-18, 25-16 behind a double-double-15-kill, 10-point performance by Jenna Curtis.
WNCC was even more impressive in defeating Northwest College to end the tournament 3-1 with a 25-9, 25-18, 25-21 win over the Trappers behind a 17-point performance by Ale Meoni.
Several members of the WNCC team have been named to the All-Tournament Team as well as honors. Anakaren Chavez was named Libero of the Tournament while Erica Fava was named Tourney MVP.
Other members of the All-Tournament Team alongside Chavez and Fava included Utah State-Eastern’s Haley McUne and Casidy Fried, NJC’s Gabby Oos, CSI’s Alizaysha Sopi, and Salt Lake’s Laura Fiabane and Charity Wilson.
WNCC is now 10-1 this season and will be looking for victory number 11 when they take on Eastern Wyoming College on Wednesday in Torrington, Wyoming.
Saturday’s first game against Southern Idaho was impressive as Curtis served four points for a 5-0 lead. CSI came back and took a 12-10 lead. Curtis stopped the Golden Eagles’ run and then Shanelle Martinez had three serve points to give WNCC a 14-12 lead.
The first set remained tough as the two teams tied at 18-18 before WNCC went 22-19 behind a service point from Alex Hernandez. WNCC took a 24-20 lead after a kill by Emmalei Mapu and won the first set 25-21.
The second set saw the set tied at 8-8 before WNCC forged their lead at 18-13 behind two points by Erica Fava. WNCC led 20-14 after a Hernandez point and Curtis kill and won 25-18 after an Anakaren Chavez point.
In the third set, WNCC led from start to finish as the Cougars took a 5-1 lead with back-to-back ace serves from Chavez. The Cougars went up 12-3 after four fava points and led 17-7 after two Curtis points. WNCC led 23-12 after a Charli Blackman kill and a service point and won the match 25-16 after a service point by Juliana Oliveira and the game-ending kill by Sandy, Utah native Autumn Bennett.
Curtis led the Cougars with 15 kills, 10 points and three digs. Meoni and Fava each had six kills. Fava also had six excavations. Mapu had five kills along with three solo blocks and two assisted blocks, while Blackman and Oliveira each had two kills.
Martinez had 36 five-point set assists, while Chavez had six excavations and four points.
WNCC came into their own in the final game against Region IX opponents Northwest College. The Cougars led 19-4 before Northwest made an easy comeback at 19-8. It was short-lived as Olivera hit a four-point service run for a 24-8 lead, winning the set 25-9 after a Mapu kill.
Martinez started the second set with four straight points, including a pair of aces. Northwest cut the lead to 5-3, but Chavez followed with four points for a 10-3 lead. The Trappers stayed on as they cut Cougar’s lead to 17-16. Mapu stopped the momentum with a kill and then Chavez served three points for a 21-16 lead. WNCC went on to win the set 25-18.
In the third set, WNCC led 7-3 after a fava kill and two Meoni points. WNCC led 12-5 at three Oliveira service points. Northwest tried to come back and cut the lead to 17-14 and later to 20-16, but a Curtis kill and then a point from Lexi Keohi brought the score to 22-16.
Northwest came back to cut the lead to 22-19, but Jayla Brehmer had a kill to take it to 24-19 before WNCC won 25-21.
Fava led the Cougars with 11 kills and five points. Curtis had eight kills with five points while Meoni had three kills, five aces and 17 points.
Also for the Cougars, Martinez had 25 set assists, four points, four digs and two solo blocks; Chavez had eight points and five digs; and Olivera had two kills and eight points.