Posted at 1 p.m Oct. 24, 2016

Volleyball falls out of national top 20 rankings, still No. 2 in Region IX-North


Going for the kill:

Makenzie DiGesualdo receives the ball to start setting the team up for a kill in the game against Western Wyoming Community College on Sept. 30.

Photo by Cody Fox

The LCCC volleyball team fell out of the national top 20 rankings after a tough loss to Northwest College on Oct. 8, but the team still has high hopes for the rest of the season.

While Austin Albers, head volleyball coach, is proud of what the team has accomplished, he said the players can’t let their guard down.

“We’ve been able to put together a strong season so far, with a 19-6 record and a 5-1 record in conference, half way through the conference schedule,” said head volleyball coach Austin Albers. “We need to keep focus on the games we have left. With the talent we have, we want to finish in the top 2 in the conference but we have to go out and prove that we are as good as we say we are.”

Albers said the team’s strengths include serves and strong hitters. But every team has a weakness as well.

“Our biggest weakness is consistently performing. There have been matches where we were not connected,” Albers said.

Everyone plays an important role within the team, Albers said. Some key players for this years’ Golden Eagles are sophomore Kiley Ridgway, who has tallied 156 kills on the season and 102 blocks. Sophomore Preston Lienemann has been consistent in her rotations, and sophomore Tori Passarelli has been given the Golden Eagles strong defense in the back row. “She does her job well,” Albers said.

The Golden Eagles are currently ranked second in the region behind Northwest, which defeated LCCC on its home court 3-1.

“We feel that we can be the best team in the conference when we play with consistency and focus on what we program in practice. I think our young team will continue to mature and be in a good position to challenge for the Regional championship in November,” Albers said.

Kyra Brandt leads the team in assists with 555 and an average of 6.31 assists per set. Lienemann is the Golden Eagles kill leader with 233, averaging 2.65 kills per set. Ridgway leads all blockers with 102.

The Golden Eagles have seven regular season matches left on schedule going into this past weekend. They faced Central Wyoming and Western Wyoming on the road; results were not available at press time.

“Our main focus for the last three weeks of regular season it to make small improvements to make our team 1-2 points better per set,” Albers said.

The Golden Eagles now host two of the tougher teams in conference. Casper College comes to town Oct. 21 and Eastern Wyoming faces LCCC on Oct. 22.

“We feel like we have more talent and can come out on top if we play well and stick to our game plan throughout. However, we know that both teams will be looking for redemption and will challenge us here at home”, Albers said.

LCCC’s last road trip of the conference season will be at Northwest with the Region IX North regular season title potentially on the line.

“Northwest will be a tough team to beat on their home floor but if we can win out until that point I think we’ll have made some adjustments that will put us in a position to steal one on the road,” Albers said.

The Golden Eagles’ last regular season game is at Sheridan. “Sheridan is a team that you cannot overlook on their home floor,” Albers said.

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