It will be a busy week for the Western Nebraska Community College soccer and volleyball teams with matches the next four days.
The soccer teams will wrap up their regular season with three home matches this week, beginningWednesday when the Cougars face Laramie County Community College. The men’s team will face the No. 15 Golden Eagles beginning at 1 p.m. while the Cougar women will face No. 5 LCCC at 3:30 p.m.
The soccer teams will wrap up the regular season with matches on Friday against Western Wyoming Community College beginning at 1 p.m. and then Northeastern Junior College on Saturday starting at noon.
The volleyball team, who dropped to No. 2 in the NJCAA rankings that were released Tuesday, will travel to Northeastern Junior College for a 7 p.m. first serve on Wednesday. The Cougars will then entertain McCook Community College at 6 p.m. Thursday followed by a match with Casper at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
The Cougar volleyball team are in a dogfight for the Region IX South title with four teams sitting atop the standings with one loss each. WNCC and NJC, who play Wednesday, are 3-1 while Otero and Lamar are each 2-1.
Brooke Kaawa said the loss to Otero last week woke the team up.
“It is very important that we go out and try our best because since we lost to Otero that loss gives us an open mind of what teams can do to us,” the freshman from Hawaii said. “Since that loss to Otero, we have been practicing harder because it surprised us. We don’t want it to happen again, so we are pushing hard.”
The Cougars enter Wednesday’s contest with a 23-3 record while the Plainswomen are 9-14 on the season. NJC, however, topped Otero in five games over the weekend (22-25, 19-25, 25-20, 25-17, 15-5), while the Cougars lost to Otero in four games 25-22, 16-25, 25-22, 25-16).
“[Knowing they beat Otero] kind of gets us pumped,” Kaawa said. “The first time we played NJC and how we won and now since NJC beat Otero, it gives us more of a push to go in there with a winning mentality.”
The loss last week only dropped the Cougars one spot in the national polls back to No. 2, the same spot they started the season with. Panola Community College vaulted to No. 1 after beating No. 2 Iowa Western Community College last week, while College of Southern Idaho is still at No. 3.
“Being number two in the nation puts us back to the beginning of the season and knowing that we can always go back to number one,” Kaawa said. “It gives us a goal, something to strive for, to get back to number one.”
While the volleyball team will have two of three matches at home, the soccer teams will have three matches at the Landers Soccer Complex.
Wednesday’s contests will pit WNCC against two ranked teams and the men’s contest is important for seeding purposes for the Region IX tournament that begins next week. The WNCC men are 5-6-1 on the season and 2-3-1 in Region IX North play. Laramie County is 12-2 overall and a perfect 6-0 in the North.
The WNCC men will then host Western Wyoming on Friday at 3:30 p.m. before finishing the regular season at home Saturday at 2 p.m. against NJC. Saturday’s match will be final home match for the Cougars and they will honor the 11 sophomores before the game.
The 11 sophomores include Billy Hoffmann, JP Santos, Matheus Ricardo, Matheus Campos, Bryant Velazquez, Travis Mundell, Gage Smith, Alfredo Velazquez, Omar Ceesay, Sergio Moreno, and Guilherme Oliveira.
The Cougar women are hoping to get back on the winning side. The Cougar women, who are dissipated with injuries, traveling with just 12 last weekend, have lost six straight and are 2-8-3 on the season.
The Cougar women will play No. 5 LCCC, who are 12-1-1 on the season at 3:30 p.m. before hosting Western Wyoming at 1 p.m. on Friday. Western Wyoming is 6-9-1 on the season. The WNCC women will wrap up the season on Saturday at noon when they host Northeastern Junior College, a team that is 2-8-3 on the year and 0-9 in conference play. WNCC is 1-8-2 in conference play.
Saturday’s match will also be sophomore recognition as the six sophomores will be recognized. They include Janalynn McKay, Eden Washington, Emily Henshaw, Sierra Benavidez, Jesse Michel, and Shelby Neubert.