After winning three-of-four games over the weekend, North Platte Community College looked to carry that momentum into Tuesday’s showdown against Eastern Wyoming College.
After being swept by the Lancers (5-1) on Aug. 24, NPCC (5-5) looked poised to reverse that result, taking the first two sets in front of the home faithful at McDonald-Belton Gymnasium.
However, Eastern Wyoming had other ideas.
The Lancers won the third set, then rallied from a 24-21 deficit in the fourth to win 26-24. In the fifth and deciding set, the teams went back-and-forth, with the Lancers eking out a two-point set victory to win the match 17-25, 20-25, 25-20, 26-24, 16-14.
"I thought we did some nice things, but this is disappointing," NPCC head coach Alexa McCall said. "I think that we were in complete control. You can’t win the first two sets and then give up as many plays as we did."
Although she liked some of what she saw, McCall wants to see her team execute better down the stretch.
"We can’t think that a team like that is just going to go away," she said. "We have to be able to execute a little better in those situations. We had plenty of opportunities. We’ve got to execute and finish the game."
Gabby Menghini led NPCC with 15 kills, Sydney Mullin added 14 and Alysen Daniels was the third Knight in double figures with 10, while Erica Hopping had a team-high 51 assists. Defensively, Ruby Valle recorded a team-high 24 digs, Menghini had 21 and Bailey Chintala added 20. Taylor Hansen led NPCC with six blocks, while Menghini and Mullin each had five.
Blocking will be a point of emphasis for McCall and the Knights before they hit the road to play Northeastern Junior College on Thursday. NJC defeated NPCC 3-1 on Aug. 28.
"We have to do a better job blocking," McCall said. "It was apparent to me that we didn’t get enough hands on the ball. With the size we have, we’ve got to be able to get touches on the ball and stuff-blocks, and I think we have the players to do that. We can’t rely solely on our offense, and I think that was the case (on Tuesday)."
The Knights return home on Friday when they’ll host Northeast Community College at 7 p.m.