It was a team performance Thursday night as the No. 18 Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team swept past Sheridan College 25-17, 25-11, 25-16 for the team’s 24th victory of the season.
The win, which moved the Cougars to 24-8, was special for the sophomores who were recognized before the game. All six sophomores started against Sheridan and everyone contributed in some fashion in the contest.
Aloni Jordan, one of those sophomores who finished the contest with seven kills and two solo blocks, said they played well from start to finish, something they haven’t been doing recently.
“I think we did really well. We executed and we played from start to finish. We didn’t have any hiccups or anything,” Jordan said. “That is all it is about. Usually we get down five or six points, but tonight we did well.”
Starting strong and staying strong is something they will need to do Friday evening when No. 5 Iowa Western Community College comes to Cougar Palace for a 7:30 first serve start. Jordan said they need to play even better Friday.
“Especially tomorrow [Friday] we have a big game ahead of us with Iowa Western and hopefully we play better than we did today even harder,” Jordan said. “But, to carry it over to Iowa Western, we should play start to finish and don’t let them get a lead.”
Sheridan led early at 6-3 in the first set before Adia Sherbeyn ran off eight straight points for a 12-6 lead from there the Cougars stayed strong as Logan Belford served out the set with an ace for the 25-17 win.
The second set saw all the freshmen play and they did well. Sherbeyn had two points to push the lead to 11-6 and then Ana Costas served up three more points for a 15-9 lead. Cami Esselin also had a strong serving streak with six straight for a 22-10 lead.
Terri Takita-Robins finished off the set with two points and the 25-11 win.
The third set saw everyone on the roster see action. WNCC held a slim 6-3 lead before Kaile Tuisamatatele had a 6-point service run for a 13-3 lead which included two ace serves and three kills from Armyi-Grace Paris.
WNCC stayed strong leading 17-6 after a Santana Monroe kill. Sheridan cut the lead to 18-13, but WNCC pushed the lead to 24-6 after two Jayme Commins points and two Paris kills. Jordan sealed the win with a kill 25-11.
Tuisamatatele and Paris led the team with 14 points while Jordan had seven, Monroe had five, and Sarena Bartley, Esselin, and Gaby Canavati each had three.
Enna Masaki finished with 18 set assists, five points, and two kills, while Commins had a double-double of 11 set assists, 11 digs, and three points.
Also for the Cougars, Belford had three digs, two points, and an ace; Esselin had seven points and five digs; Ana Costas had 14 digs, seven points, two aces, and two set assists; Takita-Robins ahd five digs and six points; and Sherbeyn had five digs, 11 points, and three aces.
All six sophomores, Commins, Masaki, Jordan, Tuisamatatele, Bartley, and Belford were recognized before the game and Jordan said it is special to know that this week will be the last time they will be playing on the floor of Cougar Palace.
“It is very bittersweet. It is sad,” Jordan said. “I remember by very first home game and I remember the jitters and how nervous I was. Tomorrow [Friday] will be our last home game and it is bittersweet and I don’t want it to end, but I had a very nice time here at WNCC. It will have to end sooner or later.