The Casper College volleyball team was in position to move to 2-0 on the season Friday afternoon at Swede Erickson Thunderbird Gym.
After sweeping Miles Community College on Thursday night to open the Volleyball Classic and winning the first two sets against Colby Community College, the T-Birds took advantage of a Colby error to take an 8-6 lead in the third set. Unfortunately for the T-Birds, it was pretty much downhill from there.
The Trojans scored 10 consecutive points on their way to a 25-17 win, held off a late Casper College rally for a 25-23 victory in the fourth set and rolled to a 15-9 victory in the fifth set.
“We can’t let it slip away like that,” Casper College head coach Angel Sharman said. “In the first two sets we played to win, but after that I think we were playing not to lose.”
The T-Birds capitalized on numerous Colby mistakes — the Trojans had 11 service errors in the first two sets — to build the 2-0 lead. The winning points in both sets were on service errors.
When Colby did keep the ball in play, freshman outside hitters Olivia Muir (Star Valley) and Hailey Anderson (Southeast) were in position to make the Trojans pay. Muir had seven of her team-high 11 kills in the first two sets, including a cross-court pounding that halted a 5-0 Colby run and gave the T-Birds a 24-22 lead in the first set.
Anderson found her footing early in the second set with two aces, a block and a kill as the T-Birds built an 11-6 advantage. Colby kept things close until sophomore Elisa Haug had back-to-back kills to make it 24-17.
“I thought we played with a lot of energy and passed the ball well in the first two sets,” Sharman said. “Now we need to develop that competitiveness so we can put teams away.”
Casper College was seemingly in position to complete the sweep early in the third set, but the unforced errors that had plagued Colby the first two sets found their way over to the T-Birds’ side of the net.
The fourth set was following the same pattern as the Trojans built a 23-17 advantage. But a kill from freshman Jana Gilic sparked a 6-0 run that Anderson finished off with three consecutive kills. The T-Birds thought they had taken the lead on the next point when a Colby kill went off the top of the net and out of bounds. But the official ruled that it had gone off a Casper College player and the Trojans finished the set off with a kill from Karleeann Ramos.
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“I think we can take this as a positive,” said Anderson, who finished with nine kills and 10 digs. “We know what we need to work on and I think as freshmen we’re getting used to the pace of the game.
“In the locker room we talked about how we need to work on our individual games to make the team better. We need to work as one.”
Sharman knows that mistakes are going to happen when the T-Birds often have only one or two sophomores on the court. She just doesn’t want it to be a recurring theme.
“We have to learn to let our mistakes go and not dwell on them,” Sharman said. “We’re improving, but the consistency isn’t there yet.”
Casper College played Salt Lake Community College late Friday before finishing the weekend with a Saturday match against Northeastern Junior College.
Colby CC 3, Casper College 2
Friday, at Casper
Colby CC 23 20 25 25 15
Casper College 25 25 17 23 9
Casper leaders: Olivia Muir (11 kills, 10 digs, 3 aces) Hailey Anderson (9 kills, 10 digs, 3 aces) Kylie Watson (16 digs) Jana Gilic (7 kills, 4 blocks) Cheylah Marfil (19 assists) Mackenzie Leong (13 assists) Elisa Haug (4 blocks) Hannah Thompson (3 blocks).