No. 2 Cougars continue win-streak, add three more
     2015-10-08      By The Gering Citizen   
Courtesy photo - WNCC's Barbara Rabanal (9) and Kaylee Spreier go up for a block against Trinidad. WNCC tallied wins over Otero, Lamar, and Trinidad last week. 
The second-ranked Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team recorded three consecutive wins last weekend.

In the most recent match on Saturday, WNCC downed the Trinidad State Junior College Trojans in three sets, 25-17, 25-21, 25-16.
Starting off the mini win-streak a week ago, the Cougars defeated Otero Junior College.

The following night, Barbara Rabanal’s 14 kills led a Cougars to a sweep over Lamar Community College, 25-12, 25-15, 25-17, in the Region IX South contest at Cougar Palace.

The Cougars win-streak extends to 11, while upping WNCC’s overall record to 24-3 on the season.

Kaylee Spreier, who finished the contest with five kills and two solo blocks, said this was much better than win over Otero. “I thought we played very well,” said the freshman from Gering. “(On Friday), we just cut our errors and played better as a team.”

The key was how the team rebounded from a so-so performance. “It was very important for us to put the Otero game behind us and push on,” Spreier said. “We just have to get the mistakes out of our head and play like we know how.”

WNCC definitely accomplished that against Lamar. On top of her 14 kills, Lamar added two blocks. Jady Gerotto had seven kills, and three solo blocks. Santanna Mitchell had five kills. Kennedy Cyza with four kills. And Fabiana Andrade had two kills.

WNCC led from start to finish in the first set, bounding out to a 15-8 lead behind five points from Andrade. The Cougars then pushed the lead to 19-10 on two Spreier points. Shaney Tiumalu closed out the set with four points.

The second set was close for the first five points. After that, WNCC started to open up on offense, running to an 8-5 lead on a Rabanal ace, then leading 12-6 on a Cyza kill. WNCC led 14-7 on another Cyza kill before Lamar came back to cut the lead to 14-11.

The Cougars bounced back for a 20-12 lead on a Mitchell kill, and never looked back. WNCC won the game on a Rabanal service point. WNCC led from start to finish in the third set. Early in the set, Lamar trailed just 11-9. After a violation, WNCC got the serve and Andrade served four points for a 16-9 lead. The Cougars pushed the lead to 20-12 on a Gerotto kill. Andrade added two points for 23-15. WNCC finished off the match on a Tiumalu block.

Andrade tallied 25 set assists, eight points, three aces, and nine digs. Keala Kaio-Perez tallied 10 digs, while Fautino Manu had five digs and six points. Rabanal tallied eight digs, two set assists, five points, and two aces; Katy Ernest with four digs; and Mitchell with two digs.

The Cougars’ goal is to keep improving. “We are just going to keep working hard on practice, working hard in games, and see where that gets us,” Spreier said.

Against Otero, Mitchell tallied a career best 18 kills leading the Cougars to a four-game 25-16, 25-22, 24-26, 25-15.

Mitchell, a Gering High graduate, also tallied two solo blocks.
The Cougars received strong efforts from Lara Picht, who finished with 12 kills, while Maraea O’Connor had nine kills. Gerotto had eight kills, and Cyza six kills. Despite the four-game win, it wasn’t the Cougars best performance and the team realized.

The Cougars had been off for over a week. They last played on Sept. 23 at McCook. “I don’t think the long layoff had an effect,” Mitchell said. “It is different for us not have a game. But we practiced hard all week. So, we were totally ready for this match.”

When WNCC was on, it played true to its No. 2 rank. When plagued with mistakes like they were in the second and third sets, they were not the usual Cougar team the fans are used to seeing.

In first set, WNCC ran out to a 13-4 lead on Gerotto’s four points. Highlighted by Cyza’s two kills and Picht’s four points, WNCC ended up taking the set, 25-16.

In the second set, the Cougars came on strong, rolling to an 11-2 lead with seven points by Kaylee Spreier. Mitchell added two kills.
Otero, hung around and cut the lead to 21-18 on four points each from Bri Murphy and Taylor Gibson. A WNCC answer was punctuated by a Picht kill to win the set, 25-22.

In the third set, WNCC fell behind early. Otero led 6-1 before Spreier had four service points to even the set at 6-6. Otero took advantage of Cougar miscues and eventually took a 22-19 lead. The Cougars battled back to a 22-22 tie on kills from Spreier and Picht. With not enough down the stretch, the Rattlers stole the set, 26-24.
In the fourth set, WNCC jumped out to 6-4 lead. O’Connor and Mitchell each scored a string of service points to extend the Cougars’ lead 11-7. WNCC got on a roll to eventually lead 23-12 on three O’Connor points and two Cyza kills. WNCC took the last set, 25-15.

O’Connor finished with 10 points, two aces, and five set assists; Gerotto had five blocks and five points; Fabiana Andrade had 46 set assists, four kills, eight points, and eight digs; Picht had six points and two aces; Spreier had 11 points, two aces, four digs, and two aces; Fuatino Manu had 11 digs; and Katy Ernest had four digs.

- WNCC release

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