Cougars prepare for upcoming season opener
     2014-08-21      By The Gering Citizen   
SCOTTSBLUFF — The Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team learned a lot about their team after the Blue and Gold scrimmage Saturday night.

There were plenty of good things, but at the same time, there are areas that still need fine tuned before they start the season next weekend in Council Bluffs, Iowa, playing four teams that were ranked last season.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” head coach Binny Canales said. “We need to improve on a lot of things. We have to learn the different rotations. We have to learn the defenses. Our setters are still learning who to set and when to set them. But, all-in-all, it was a lot of fun.”

The Blue team did win all three sets on the day 25-15, 27-25, 25-16, but it was more of a chance to get on the court to see how much they have came together in the two weeks of practices.
Rachael McCracken, one of six returning players from a year ago, said there were plenty of positives.

“I think it went really good. We tried a few different rotations and we found the best one out of all three,” McCracken said. “I think we came really close together and we fought hard and we didn’t give up. We were down there in one set and we came right back up with our serve receive. I think we came back as a team and really raised our intensity.”

Each set featured different combinations and different players stepped up in each game.
Canales said he can see the potential of this team; it is just a matter of time to iron everything out.
“I think the positives are there, we just need to keep developing them,” he said. “It will be a work in progress to prepare for our regional and national tournament.”
McCracken said the one area that needs work on is serve receive before this weekend.

“I think our serve receive is still giving us a little bit of trouble,” she said. “We just need to serve receive on point and everything else will fall into place.”
The Cougars open the season next Friday and Saturday at the Reiver Invite. The Cougars open against Polk State Community College out of Florida and then Iowa Western Community College. They will also play Division II powers Cowley County Community College and Johnson County Community, both junior colleges from Kansas.

“We have tough competition coming up next weekend with four top 20 teams,” Canales said. “We are getting there. We feel good where we are at and we are still learning our different systems. It is a matter of the change.

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