Freshmen outnumber returners at WNCC volleyball practice
     2015-08-13      By The Gering Citizen   
Courtesy photo - Alliance's Kennedy Cyza goes digs up the ball during a drill Monday morning in the first day of practice for the Cougar volleyball team. 
WNCC release

SCOTTSBLUFF - Western Nebraska Community College returning sophomore Fabiana Andrade was all smiles after seeing the talent on this year’s Cougar volleyball team.

Rightly so, too. The Cougars return five players from last year’s Region IX championship team and welcomed nine fresh faces. After just one practice, Andrade, who was an all-region setter last season, definitely has plenty to be excited for.

“We have a lot of talent and I am pretty sure that this year will be amazing,” she said. “We can do it. We can be in first for nationals.”
Second year coach Binny Canales is also quite impressed with the talent on this year’s team. “We mainly did passing and defense this morning, but we looked good,” he said. “We still need to work on conditioning and make sure everyone understands what we are doing. But we looked very solid.”

The Cougars return five players from a year ago and welcome nine new faces to the team this season. Andrade said there is plenty of talent and height on this year’s team.

“The first practice went pretty good,” Andrade said. “I can see that my teammates are doing well. We have a good group.”

Andrade returns to the team along with Gering’s Santanna Mitchell, Leyton’s Katy Ernest, and Hawaii’s Keala Kaio-Perez and Fuatino Manu.
Andrade said the sophomores are ready to lead this talented team. “For me I don’t see any difference [between the sophomores and freshman]. We all are a team,” she said. “Us sophomores can teach them all they know and they can teach us a lot also. That is nice.”

Eight of the nine incoming freshmen stand 5-10 or taller. The shorter freshman is 5-6 Aiwaise Villa, a defensive specialist from Honolulu, Hawaii. Villa’s sisters played for Canales at Laredo Community College.

The other eight newcomers are all hitters, beginning with 6-2 Kennedy Cyza of Alliance and 6-0 Kaylee Spreier of Gering. WNCC also welcomes 6-0 Jady Gerotto of Sao Paulo, Brazil, 6-0 Maraea O’Connor of Hilo, Hawaii; 5-11 Lara Picht of Brandenburg, Germany; 5-10 Barbara Rabanal of Lima, Peru; 6-0 Shaney Tiumalu of Kaneohe, Hawaii; and 5-11 Vaniriz Vazquez of Caguas, Puerto Rico.

“I am surprised with all this talent and they [the newcomers] are tall,” Andrade said. “We are taller than last year. So, I bet our block will be better and we will be better. We have a lot of talent.”
Canales said he is expecting big play from all 14 players. “We are expecting huge things from our sophomores as well as our freshman,” he said. “We have a lot ability on both ends. The sophomores know what to do and know how they want the team to be. The freshman are coming in and they are following and doing what they need to do.”
For Canales, he can see plenty of potential in this year’s squad. “We are very athletic,” he said. “We have good movement. We move laterally well. We are excited for the season.”

WNCC will have about three weeks of practice before opening the season Aug. 21-22 at a tournament at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa. WNCC will play Ranger College, Iowa Western, Grand View, and Jefferson College the opening weekend.

“We look good,” he said. “We look like we are going to have a good year as long as we stay healthy and keep the drama off the court. It should be a real good year.”


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