SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. – First-year Eastern Wyoming College volleyball head coach Dante Geoffrey’s message to his team after Tuesday night’s 3-1 (25-16, 26-24, 24-26, 25-21) loss to Western Nebraska was, they played well below their potential.
He shared that as good news following only the team’s second loss of the season.
“We are playing close to as well as we can right now but there is so much more growth possible,” Geoffrey said. “We are not far off from making some great improvements. We have to keep working and prove it against some of the best competition.”
The Lady Lancers got off to another sluggish start in the first set, falling behind 10-3 before rallying to cut the Cougar lead to three at 12-9 during the middle stages of the set.
“Towards the end of the first set and throughout the rest of the match, we really elevated our fight,” Geoffrey said. “Our aggressive serving kept us in the match when maybe other facets of our game weren’t clicking.”
That was something he was pleased to see.
In the second set, EWC held a 16-11 lead before Western Nebraska stormed back to take a 20-19 advantage and never surrendered the lead for the remainder of the set.
“If we want to consider our self a team in the same tier as a Western Nebraska, those are sets we need to finish off,” Geoffrey said. “We let them go on too many runs.”
In the third set, Eastern Wyoming served up four aces – two by Vittoira Cacciavillani and one each from Lexi Trowbridge and Lauren Feierabend.
“That was part of the game plan,” Geoffrey said. “We cannot hold back behind the service line. We had to be aggressive, and we were.”
Geoffrey credited the Lady Lancer’s aggressive service style for aiding the win and keeping their hopes alive.
“We were taking them out of their system a little bit and were able to get better transition offense,” he said.
In what proved to be the final set of the evening, the Lady Lancers fell behind 16-11, but EWC scored three in a row, including back-to-back kills from Feierabend to draw within two.
That proved to be as close as the Lady Lancers came to seeing the lead the remainder of the day.
The loss drops EWC to 9-2 on the season, and the road doesn’t get any easier moving forward.
“Today was really the start of the elevation in the challenge of our schedule,” Geoffrey said.
The Lady Lancers travel to the Northeast Junior College’s Pizza Hut Invitational, Sept. 13-14.
EWC will open with New Mexico Junior College, a program in its first year, and Snow Junior College, the No. 6-ranked team in the country, at noon and 7:30 p.m., respectively. The next day, the team will play North Platte Community College and Otero Junior College at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.