SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. – The Eastern Wyoming College volleyball team finally got its season started over the weekend at the Western Nebraska Community College Crossover Tournament.
The Lady Lancers got the season started on a winning note, defeating No. 17-ranked Western Nebraska, Trinidad State (Colo.), and No. 11-ranked Otero (Colo.) Junior College.
On Friday, EWC dropped the first set to WNCC, 28-26, but responded with three straight wins, 25-17, 25-20, 25-22.
“It is a heck of a way to start the season, and it proves, right away, we belong in the discussion with those teams that are battling for national tournament berths,” second year coach Dante Geoffrey said.
EWC led 24-22 in the first, but the Lady Lancers allowed them to go on a run and get the first set win.
In between sets, the team had a discussion about how they were going to respond to the first set loss.
They responded positively.
“We pretty much had control the whole time,” Geoffrey said. “That was our best set in terms of attacking. We had 14 kills and hit .333.”
In the final set, EWC found themselves down 17-14, forcing Geoffrey to call a timeout.
The team regrouped, tied it at 17 and pulled away for victory.
The win was the first for the Lady Lancers over Western Nebraska in more than a decade.
“Our serve and pass game were really on in that first match,” Geoffrey said.
The team knew if they were going to be in a position to get the win, those two facets of the game were going to be critical.
Three EWC players tallied double figures in kills, as sophomore Alyssa Parmelee led the team with 15, while sophomore Vanja Przulj added 13. Freshman Neza Pec had 11.
Later in the afternoon, EWC swept Trinidad State, 3-0 (25-15, 25-20, 25-12).
“Trinidad certainly gave us a challenge,” Geoffrey said.
In the second set, the Lady Lancers found themselves down 12-7 before rallying to win, and in the third set, EWC led 12-10 before closing out the match on a 13-2 run.
Parmelee led the team with 12 kills, while Przulj and freshman Victoria Anderer had six each.
The next day, the Lady Lancers had a quick turnaround with an 8 a.m. contest against McCook.
It proved to be a challenge for EWC in a five-set loss, 23-25, 25-19, 25-22, 22-25, 15-10.
“They fight like no other. They do everything to save every ball,” Geoffrey said. “They are diving three rows into the bleachers to make a play. They play with a lot of passion and intensity.”
Parmelee and Przulj led the Lady Lancer attack with 12 kills each.
The Lady Lancers capped off the crossover tournament with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-23) win over Otero, a team who finished seventh at nationals a season ago.
“I was really proud of this match, not just because we won, but because of how we did it,” Geoffrey said. “Vanja Przulj didn’t play this match, and we had a freshman – Alyssa George – that got the starting nod. She lead the team in digs with 18. She was second with seven kills. She passed great, and she played like she belonged.”
Parmelee tallied another team high 14 kills and 13 digs.
“Alyssa Paralee was an absolute stud all weekend,” Geoffrey said. “She played a decent amount as a freshman, but she played on the right side. She’s back to her natural position on the outside this year. She had double-digit kills every match.”
Parmalee also had double-digits digs in three of the four matches.
The Lady Lancers travel to the Laramie County Community College Invite on Friday and Saturday. Action gets underway at 3 p.m. Friday against Central Community College-Columbus and at 7 p.m. against Trinidad State. The next day, they wrap up play against Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College at 10 a.m.
“We set the bar high in this regard, the expectations every week, every match is to go out and compete and do what we do the best we can,” Geoffrey said. “The expectation is not to win. The expectation is not to go to nationals. The expectation is to be our best selves and to compete. If we do that, the outcome is going to fall in our favor more times than not.”