WNCC tops Lamar for 20th win of season

Western Nebraska Community College’s Gabriela Canavati (2) and Kaile Tuisamatatele (11) put up a block on a Lamar hitter during a volleyball match on Friday night at Cougar Palace.

Enna Masaki had a triple-double and the Western Nebraska Community College volleyball won their sixth straight with a four-set win over Lamar Community College 25-18, 25-23, 19-25, 25-13 in a Region IX South Conference contest Friday at Cougar Palace.

Masaki finished with 17 kills, 12 digs and 10 points in the Cougars 20th win of the season to seven defeats.

Ana Costas, who finished with a match-high 32 digs, said the team played well but could have played better.

“We played pretty good but we can do better,” the freshman libero said. “We need to get together and have more energy and keep it going. We have to keep working hard.”

A big difference between Friday’s win over Lamar and the big win over No. 19 Otero Junior College on Thursday was energy. Costas said energy and excitement on the court is important for this team.

“It was hard [playing Friday after the Otero win] because we played too hard yesterday,” she said. “We need to keep working hard every day.”

The energy factor was a big difference between the two matches.

“Energy is very important,” Costas said. “Yesterday [Thursday] we were down 9-1 and we had the energy to bring it back up because all the girls kept working. Energy is very important every time.”

WNCC opened the first set on a roll and with plenty of energy, leading 9-4 before Lamar sliced the lead to 16-14. The Cougars regained their groove and won 25-18 on a Masaki kill.

The second set was tight throughout. WNCC led 6-2 after four Masaki service points only to watch Lamar come back to tie the set at 6-6. WNCC pushed the lead to 15-10 after two Adia Sherbeyn points. The lead didn’t last long as Lamar knotted the score at 21.

WNCC regrouped behind a Leslie Mamai-Lagafuaina kill and then two Sherbeyn service points for a 24-21 lead. WNCC won the set 25-23 on a Masaki kill.

The third set started sloppy for the Cougars with Lamar grapping a 13-5 lead behind six service points. Mamai-Lagafuaina stopped the service run with a kill and Sherbeyn served five points to bring the Cougars back to 13-11. That was as close as WNCC got with Lamar capturing the third set 25-19.

Sherbeyn started the fourth set with three straight points to get the Cougars fired up. Lamar knotted the game at 3-3, but four points from Masaki pushed the lead to 10-4. WNCC forged ahead by double-digits at 16-6 on a Kaile Tuisamatatele kill and three service points. Sherbeyn added four more points for a 22-9 lead before Gaby Canavati closed out the match with a kill at 25-13.

Besides Masaki’s outstanding match, Amryi Grace-Paris finished with 16 points followed by Canavati with 12, and Tuisamatatele and Mamai-Lagafuaina each with seven kills. Mamai-Lagafuaina added three solo blocks and three digs, while Tuisamatatatele had two solo blocks, nine points, and four digs.

Also for the Cougars, Jayme Commins and Sherbeyn each tallied a double-double. Commins finished with 43 set assists, 20 digs, two kills and two points, Sherbeyn had 10 digs and 14 points. Costas added six set assists and five points, while Camille Esselin had seven digs and two points.

WNCC will return to action Saturday when Trinidad State Junior College comes to Cougar Palace for a matinee 1 p.m. first serve.