NORTH PLATTE, Neb. – First-year Eastern Wyoming College coach Dante Geoffrey understands the typical struggles of the first weekend of volleyball can bring.
However, this weekend, the Lady Lancers found themselves ahead of the game and competition at the Mid-Plains Subway Invite in North Platte, bringing back four wins to Torrington to open the 2019 season.
“Week one volleyball for everyone can be sloppy. Everyone is still trying to get into their system. At the two-year level, there is a lot of turnover with each team, so the teams are still trying to get to know each other in a communication sense,” Geoffrey said. “I felt coming out of the weekend, that we are playing at a third- or fourth-week level right now.”
On Friday, the Lady Lancers knocked off McCook (Neb.) Community College, 3-0 (25-13, 25-11, 29-27).
“We would turn free balls or out of system balls they would send to us, and we would turn them into in-system kills. We served aggressive, and we passed well,” Geoffrey said.
For the weekend, the Lady Lancers served up 37 aces and dished out 163 assists.
Coming into the season, serving and passing were strong talking points all preseason, knowing the Lady Lancers would be in every game if they could do those two things well.
Later that afternoon, EWC faced a strong test in Durham College out of Canada.
The Lady Lancers grabbed a 2-0 lead before stumbling in the third set
“It was a good test for us. What I presented to the girls after that third-set loss, the challenge to you is, can you rebound? Can you retake the control you relinquished in that third set.”
The team did just that, ultimately picking up the win in the fourth set to secure the 3-1 (25-20, 25-19, 21-25, 25-22) win.
On Saturday, EWC defeated Hesston (Kan.) College, 3-0 (25-12, 25-16, 25-16).
“We, pretty much from start to finish, controlled that match,” Geoffrey said. “When we got to that third set, it was a reminder that we know what happened in the previous game when we thought we could coast to a victory.”
He challenged his team to not let the letdown happen again, and they didn’t let that happen again.
In the tournament finale, the Lady Lancers defeated host North Platte, 3-0 (25-20, 25-11, 25-22).
In the final match of the weekend, EWC faced a different challenge – the home crowd – plus, North Platte was coming off a five-set loss in the previous match.
“Their emotions were running high, and we knew if we stayed steady, we could keep them down. We wanted to make them earn everything.”
Once again, they did just that.
“Early indications, our style of volleyball is working, and it’s a credit to the girls buying in and being committed to the type of volleyball we want to play,” Geoffrey said.
Once arriving back in Torrington on Saturday evening, the team discussed their early-season success.
“We talked as a team, that people are going to be really happy, really proud and excited about this first weekend,” Geoffrey said.
They also discussed the topic of turning the page quickly with rival Western Nebraska Community College looming on Tuesday evening.
Following the home opener, the Lady Lancers (4-0) return to North Platte for another battle on Tuesday, Sept. 3.