CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The No.18 Western Nebraska Community College fought back from a 2-0 deficit only to come up short in a heartbreaking loss to Laramie County Community College in five sets 25-13, 25-20, 17-25, 17-25, 16-14 Tuesday evening in Cheyenne.
The lose drops the Cougars to 23-8 on the season and snaps a 9-match winning streak, while the Golden Eagles move to 23-7 and push their win streak to 12 matches.
WNCC will have two more regular season matches before next week’s regional tournament this week at home. On Thursday, in sophomore recognition night, the Cougars host Sheridan College at 7 p.m. followed by a Friday night encounter against No. 5 Iowa Western Community College at 7:30 p.m. in homecoming festivities after the match.
Tuesday’s match with LCCC, however, started exactly how it the first meeting between the two squads started with the Golden Eagles grabbing the first set 25-13 and the second set 25-20 for a 2-0 lead.
Just like the August meeting, WNCC responded back grabbing the third set 25-17 and then rolling to the fourth set 25-17 behind strong serving.
That set up a crucial fifth set just like the first meeting. WNCC led 8-7 in the fifth on two Enna Masaki points only to watch LCCC come back for a 10-8 lead.
From there the fifth set became intense as WNCC tied set at 11-11 on an Amryi-Grace Paris kill and Kaile Tuisamatatele points. WNCC led 13-12 after a Jayme Commins service point and it looked as if WNCC was going to pull out the fifth set like they did in the first meeting.
LCCC, however, came back to lead 14-13 and was one point from the match. WNCC forced extra points on a Masaki kill, tying the set at 14. LCCC responded back in claiming the final two points for the win.
WNCC had three players led the team with nine kills each in Masaki, Paris, and Leslie Mamai-Lagafuaina.
Commins had a double-double with 15 digs and 39 set assists. Commins also had four digs.
Several players had near double-doubles. Masaki had nine digs, six points, three aces and three solo blocks to go with her nine kills, while Adia Sherbeyn finished with 10 digs and eight points.
Also for the Cougars, Tuisamatatele tallied seven kills, six points, two solo blocks, and 12 points; Ana Costas had 15 digs, nine points, and three set assists; Camille Esselin had eight digs and two points; Gaby Canavati had seven kills and three digs; Mamai-Lagafuaina had five solo blocks; and Sarena Bartley had four kills.
After this week, WNCC will be back in Cheyenne for the Region IX tournament that begins on Halloween. WNCC, who earned the No. 1 seed from the South Sub-region will play at 1 p.m. on Oct. 31 against the winner of the North 4 and South 5 winner that will be played earlier on Halloween. The Region IX tournament will be held at Storey Gym in Cheyenne with the top two teams from the regional tournament qualifying for the national tournament later in November.