CASPER, Wyo. – Brooke Kaawa had a double-double and the second-ranked Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team captured a 23-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-17 win over Casper College Tuesday night in Casper, Wyoming.
The win was the Cougars 18th straight and raised the team's record to 24-2 on the season.
Kadara Marshall, who finished the game with nine kills and eight points, said the team played well after the first set, which they lost 25-23 after hold a 13-9 lead.
"After losing the first set, I think we sort of realized that we need to put more effort into our play," Marshall said. "We can't just show up and have the win handed to us."
That is what they did in the next three sets. Marshall had some big services runs in the second and third sets. In the second, Casper held a 16-15 lead before WNCC went up 20-17. Marshall later pounded down a kill and then had two service points for the 23-18 lead. Kirstee Trees served the final point for to even the match.
The third set saw plenty of strong service runs. Marshall had a 4-point run to push the Cougar lead to 11-8 and then Trees had two aces for a 14-9 lead. WNCC went up 19-12 on a Genesis Benitez ace and won the game on a Marshall point and Sarena Bartley kill.
Casper started the fourth set with a 4-0 run and led 7-6 at one point. Kaawa chanced that with four service points for a 11-7 lead. Casper cut the lead to single points a couple times, the last at 17-16. That was when Kaawa served three points for a 21-16 lead and then Syenna Masaki took over with a kill and three service points for the 25-17 win.
"I think the last three sets weren't our greatest play by any means but comparatively to the first set we limited our errors greatly," Marshall said.
Kaawa led the Cougar attack with 12 kills, 11 points, seven digs, and two ace serves. Bartley also tallied 12 kills while Masaki had seven kills. Masaki also had 14 digs, nine points and an ace serve.
Benitez finished the match with 16 digs, seven points, and two aces, Jayme Commins had 40 set assists, five kills, eight points, and two assist blocks; Trees had six points, six digs, and two aces; and Kaile Tuisamatatele had four kills and four assist blocks.
WNCC will have a day off before traveling to face Northeastern Junior College on Thursday in a Region IX South contest. Marshall said they need to be focused when they face NJC.
"To prepare for Thursday, we need to be focused and we need to be driven," she said. "We have to have the drive within each one of ourselves individually to want to win. If we have those things, we will be able to execute and play our game."