The 4th-ranked Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team picked up two wins in the first day of the Wyo-Braska Invite Friday at Cougar Palace.
Kirstee Trees tallied 19 service points to lead the Cougars to a 25-20, 25-10, 25-11 win over Central Wyoming College to open the tournament. The Cougars then saw Sarena Bartling pound down nine kills and the WNCC team swept past Northwest College 25-20, 25-22, 25-14 to improve to 15-2 on the season.
The win was the Cougars ninth straight win. WNCC has also won 23 straight sets.
WNCC will conclude the WyoBraska Invite on Saturday with two matches. The Cougars will battle Garden City Community College at noon and then Laramie County Community College at 4 p.m.
The Northwest contest was a battle as the Cougars trailed in in the first and second sets. The first set saw the Cougars comeback from a 12-11 deficit as Kaila Tuisamatatele had four points for a 16-12 lead and went on to win 25-20.
Northwest controlled the tempo for much of the second set, holding a 16-13 and later a 22-21 lead. WNCC came back as Brooke Kaawa served three straight points for the 25-22 win.
WNCC led from start to finish in the third set. The Cougars held a slim 12-11 lead before a Tuisamatatatele kill and six Jayme Commins service points for a 19-11 lead. The Cougars won going away 25-14.
Bartley collected nine kills to lead the Cougars followed by eight from Kaawa and seven from Syenna Masaki. Kaawa also had two solo blocks, 10 digs, and three points, while Masaki had nine points and three digs.
Also for the Cougars, Commins had 30 set assists, eight points, and four digs; Benitez had 18 digs; Trees had 14 digs and three points; Kadara Marshall had four kills, a solo block, three assisted blocks, and three digs; Tuisamatatele had five kills and seven points; and Lauren Shaul had three points.
Against Central Wyoming, the Cougars and Rustlers battled tooth and nail in the first set before WNCC captured the win 25-20. Trees started the second set with 10 straight service points for a 10-0 lead. The lead was pushed to 16-4 as Tuisamatatele had three points for a 16-4 lead before WNCC won 25-10.
The third set was close as WNCC held a slim 12-10 lead before Bartley kill and then Trees went to town once again, serving six points for a 19-10 lead. Commins closed out the match with five service points, including the ending kill from Aneta Faksova.
WNCC had three players with double-figure kills. Kaawa paced the team with 12 kills. Kaawa also had five points and 10 digs. Tuisamatatele and Bartley each had 11 kills. Tuisamatatele also tallied six points and two solo blocks.
Also for the Cougars, Commins had 31 set assists, four digs, and six points; Masaki had three kills, four set assists, and seven digs; Benitez had 20 digs and four points; Aloni Jordan had a solo block and a kill; Faksova had two kills; Joise Maldonado had a kill and a dig; and Marshall had three kills.
Other scores in the invite at WNCC saw Northwest College down Colorado Northwestern 25-20, 25-17, 25-20, and Laramie County Community College topped Central Wyoming 25-22, 25-22, 25-21.
Action at Torrington saw the Eastern Wyoming College Lancers split on the day. The Lancers opened up with a five-set win over Garden City 25-18, 25-19, 23-25, 21-25, 15-13 before falling to Western Wyoming in four sets.
Other matches at Torrington saw Western Wyoming down Garden City 25-20, 25-22, 25-18, and LCCC over Miles 25-19, 25-12, 25-14.