Look To Rebound After 1-8 Start
With the two toughest two weeks of the schedule in the books, the Northwest College volleyball team’s record stands at 1-8. That included four losses at the College of Southern Idaho’s Starr Invitational last weekend.
“We know what we need to work on, we know what we need to fix,” said NWC head coach Shaun Pohlman. “It’s just a matter of if the team is going to take some ownership in that and make the fixes that are necessary.”
The first game in Idaho came against a “very solid” Monroe Community College team out of New York, Pohlman said
Monroe won the first two sets 25-20 each. In the third set, NWC took an early lead, then went into a back-and-forth before the Lady Trappers prevailed, 25-23. The NWC team took another early lead in the fourth set.
“You could kind of see this other team kind of emerge and this is the first match of the tournament so ... for the first time this season I feel like we are competing,” said Pohlman.
The Lady Trappers led 24-20 when Monroe took a timeout. During the timeout, Pohlman said he could see anxiety on his players’ faces and told them, “this team is not going to just roll over and die — you’re going to have to work for it, you’re going to have to go get it, no letting the ball drop.”
Monroe did not roll over, scoring six unanswered points to win the fourth set 26-24. Those points came by way of three NWC hitting errors, a blocking error, a serving error and a ball that the team called out of bounds, but was not.
“Teams aren’t beating us, we are beating us,” Pohlman said. “We are beating ourselves, and as cliche as that sounds, this is the first time I’ve ever said that. ... I ’ve never seen a team or been a part of a team that beat themselves as bad as this team does.”
NWC went on to play three more games.
“The rest of the tournament ended up being the same exact thing we saw [the prior] weekend,” Pohlman said. “Teams rolling all over us, no fight, no competitiveness.”
The Lady Trappers lost to College of Southern Idaho 25- 10, 25-17, and 25-23, then lost to Arizona Western College 25-17, 25-15 and to Hutchinson Community College 25-13, 25-18 and 25-20.
“This is college athletics, so being nice isn’t something we can be to our opponents,“ Pohlman said of his team’s inability to finish games.
But despite the 1-8 overall record, Pohlman said he broke down the stats from the beginning of the season and saw a “glimmer of hope” — hitting errors improved from 6.92 percent to 6.38 percent.
“So, marginally lower,” said Pohlman. “I’ll take any progress we can get.”
Other areas, such as service errors and aces, are going to need to continually be worked on, according to the coach.
“We have to choose different responses to certain stimuli and right now the stimuli is pressure and aggressiveness towards us and our response to back away,” Pohlman said. “So we got to change that response.”
For the tournament, Shania Warren led the Lady Trappers with 35 kills, Aleksandra Saric had 28, Luana Rezende had 23, Andjela Bublic 18 and Julianna Hughes 11. For digs, Bre Donarski led NWC with 41, followed by Rezende with 28, Warren with 22 and 17 from Bublic. Kiandra Franklin had 10 block assists.
“Her block has really come a long ways,” said Pohlman.
Jess Ruffing had 66 assists, while Demery Dean added 53.
“If we improve again this next week, I would be extremely happy — if we did this exact same thing this next week,” said Pohlman.
This weekend the Lady Trappers will travel to Scottsbluff, Nebraska, to compete in the Wyo-Braska Tournament.
NWC is scheduled to play Northwestern Community College on Friday at 1 p.m. and Western Nebraska Community College — a top 10 team — at 7 p.m. Friday. On Saturday at 8 a.m., NWC will play Garden City Community College and at 10 a.m., they’ll play Eastern Wyoming Community College.
EWCC currently has an 0-11 record but Pohlman said they, too, have had a tough schedule.
“I think we are better than a 1-8 record and I think they are better than an 0-11 record,” Pohlman said.
He added that “the fact that we are struggling and playing tough teams makes it hard to really see are we getting better — how much better are we getting, are we improving, that type of thing.”
Pohlman said that, with the schedule the team has played thus far, “we’re trying to be competitive while also being fiscally responsible.” With recent budget cuts, “limited availability of tournaments that are close enough for us to afford really limits our options on where we can go,” said Pohlman. He added that the hosting schools determine the schedule at tournaments.
With the toughest two weeks of competition now behind them, Pohlman hopes to have a better idea of how and where his team is improving.