Western Nebraska Community College’s Enna Masaki pounded down 17 kills and the Western Nebraska Community College and Eastern Wyoming College volleyball teams heated up the Highway 26 border war Wednesday night as the Cougars swept past the Lancers 25-11, 25-23, 25-22.
The win was the NJCAA 11th-ranked Cougars sixth victory of the season.
Both coaches said that their teams could have played better as there were too many unforced errors in the contest.
“We were up and down. We need to hold our composure for a longer period of time,” WNCC head coach Binny Canales said. “But, I think it will get better. We tried some new lineups today and it worked for a while. Then they started making mistakes. We just have to play consistent.”
WNCC looked really strong in the opening set, holding a 12-2 lead behind a 4-point service run by Ana Costas and then 3-point service runs by Cami Esselin and two from Masaki. WNCC also received a 6-point service run by Adia Sherbeyn to help the Cougars win the set 25-11.
“We were serving tough on them and doing more things efficiently in the first set,” Canales said. “After that we started making some errors.”
EWC head coach Julie Sherbeyn said after the first set, her team settled in but they still make errors at the most crucial times.
“We are still making errors at pivotal moments like an error on game point when it is that tight in the second game,” she said. “We had some other errors, too. We just have to learn to take care of business and try not to do too much. We just have to take care of our jobs.”
After the opening set, both teams were going back and forth with neither team enjoying more than a four point lead.
The second set saw EWC vault out to a 12-8 lead behind three points from Alexis Trowbridge. WNCC came back to tie the second set at 13 and zoom to a 17-13 lead on seven straight Costas points.
WNCC ked 19-15 after a Masaki kill and looked in control. The Lancers had other ideas as Mallori Campbell ran off four points to put the Lancers in front 20-19.
Both teams exchanged point. With the score knotted at 23, WNCC put the game away on an Adia Sherbeyn service point and Masaki kill.
The third set was similar to the second. EWC led 7-4 after back-to-back aces from Kelcy Strohschein. WNCC tied the set on two Costas points and took a 12-10 lead on a Logan Belford point. WNCC pushed the lead to 19-15 on two Adia Sherbeyn points.
EWC fought back. Trailing 22-19, the Lancers’ Nadia Montalban El-Hiriche had three points to close the set to within one, 23-22. A sideout gave WNCC match point and Masaki served the final point.
Costas led the Cougars with a double-double of 14 points and 18 digs.
Sherbeyn also had a nice match, finishing with nine points and 13 digs.
Masaki, to go along with her match-high 17 points, finished with nine digs, four blocks, and one solo block.
Also for WNCC, Jayme Commins had 35 set assists; Esseliln had five points and two digs; Amryi-Grace Paris had five kills; Kaile Tuisamatatele had four kills, two solo blocks, and three points; Belford had two points and two digs; Leslie Mamai-Lagafuaina had four kills.
EWC was led by Dawson Sherman with eight kills followed by Shaniah Freeseman with seven kills.
Also for the Lancers, Campbell had six points and 10 assists; Trowbridge had five points and 15 assists; and Strohschein had two aces.
Both teams will have the weekend off and will return to action next Tuesday when they will face each other in Torrington, Wyoming, in a triangular. EWC and North Platte opens the triangular at 3 p.m. followed by WNCC and North Platte at 5 p.m. The two Highway 26 teams will then battle at 7 p.m.
Coach Sherbeyn said next Tuesday will be a special day as all veterans will get in free for the triangular. She added the American Government classes are holding a food drive as a community service project.