STERLING, Colo. – The Northeast Community College volleyball team hit the road on Friday and Saturday, taking part in the Pizza Hut Invitational in Sterling, Colo. On Day One, Northeast dropped a three-set match to Laramie County Community College (17-25, 22-25 and 23-25). In the final match of the day, the Hawks defeated Casper Community College (25-19, 25-21 and 25-18).
Day Two didn’t go as planned for Northeast (9-6, 3-0 ICCAC), dropping two matches to NJCAA DI opponents. Sheridan College outlasted the Hawks in five sets (21-25, 22-25, 25-13, 25-16 and 11-15). In the final match of the day, Northeastern Junior College swept the Hawks (22-25, 21-25 and 19-25).
In the loss to Laramie, Hannah Heppner (Stanton, Neb.) recorded eight kills, while Kallie Brester (Howells, Neb.) and Gabriela Barbosa (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) had 19 and 13 digs, respectively. Savannah Nelson (Wakefield, Neb.) pitched in 21 assists and two ace-serves in the loss.
Against Casper, Brester led the offensive attacked with 10 kills, while adding four blocks. Heppner tallied eight kills and Caitlin Orton (Mills, Neb.) had seven kills and four blocks. In the digs category, Delaney Belt (Shelby, Neb.) recorded 14 digs, while Makayla Davidson (Alliance, Neb.) and Barbosa had 10. Nelson contributed 27 assists.
“We struggled again to get going,” Head Coach Amanda Schultze said. “Laramie County was a good team and we sat on our heels a lot. We played some good defense, but offensively we just could not get going. Our second match against Casper, we played well the entire match. We had a couple kids struggle, but the rest of the group picked up the slack and did a great job.”
On Saturday against Sheridan, Elley Beaver (Columbus, Neb.) led the Hawks in kills with 17. Brester added 12 to go along with 14 digs, and Heppner tallied 11 with four blocks. Barbosa added 18 digs and Nelson had 41 assists.
In the finale, Brester pitched in nine kills and Heppner added eight. Barbosa led the Hawks in digs with 20, while Nelson finished with 26 assists in the loss.
“Overall it was a tough day,” Schultze added. “Sheridan and NJC are both very good teams with some very good players. We played very well, at times, but not consistent enough to come out on top. We had some kids come in off the bench and really did a nice job for us.”
The Hawks are back in action when they visit Southwestern Community College in conference action at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Creston, Iowa.