WNCC volleyball team ranked No. 7 in pre-season polls
     2014-08-21      By The Gering Citizen   
SCOTTSBLUFF — The Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team enter the season ranked No. 7 in the pre-season polls that were released Tuesday by the National Junior College Athletic Association.
WNCC coach Binny Canales said he will take that ranking as his team prepares for the upcoming season that starts Friday in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

“I think No. 7 is a fair spot right now,” he said. “We are coming in with a new coach, had a late start recruiting, and the [NJCAA] is not sure where we are at. There are some good teams up there and I have a lot of respect for all those teams from those just receiving votes to being nationally ranked. Right now it is just a pre-season ranking and we will see where we really are later.”

WNCC finished fifth at the national tournament a year ago and will play five of the six teams that are ranked ahead of them this coming season. Blinn College is the overwhelming No. 1 team in the nation.
Right after Blinn comes Iowa Western Community College, College of Southern Idaho, Arizona Western College and Tyler Junior College to round out the top five. Western Wyoming Community College, who is a part of the Region IX North division, is ranked No. 6 in the country.

WNCC is number seven, followed by Salt Lake Community College, Hillsborough Community College, and San Jacinto to finish the top 10.
Canales said his team should be excited to be ranked among the national’s elite once again.
“It should make them [the players] feel good that they are in the top 10 and to be in the same company and same breath with a lot of those teams,” he said. “The kids will respond well through everything that happens in the season. They are just those type of kids.”

This weekend definitely won’t be easy as the Cougars will get their share of facing top-ranked teams when they face Polk State and Iowa Western on Friday and then Cowley County and Johnson County on Saturday. Cowley and Johnson County are ranked No. 2 and 3 in Division II.

Canales said this weekend won’t be easy.

“We open up with Polk, who finished 17th in the polls last year and I feel they should be up there, too. They should be in the top 20,” he said. “They are well coached and have a lot of strong players. Then what do you say about Iowa Western. They are ranked No. 2 and one of the top programs in the nation. I feel the first day should be a great test.

“The second day we have the No. 2 and 3 ranked teams in Division II, which will take some work to beat them. We are hoping everyone stays healthy, we play well and give it a true saying where we really belong.”
Two other Region IX squads also earned recognition in the pre-season polls. Northeastern Junior College out of Sterling, Colo. is ranked No. 16 in the nation, while Casper College received votes.
The Division II poll was also released on Tuesday and two Region IX teams made the Top 20. Central Community College-Columbus enters ranked No. 5 while North Platte Community College is No. 15.

The first regular season poll will be released the week of Sept. 8.

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