Posted at 2:48 p.m., Sept. 25, 2014

Volleyball team's outlook promising

Winning 14 games in a row is an accomplishment some teams across the country can only imagine, but this season’s Laramie County Community College’s volleyball team has done just that and is off to a great start in 2014.

That streak did come to an end in Sterling, Colorado, the weekend of Sept.

12-13 as they got roughed up a bit in the Pizza Hut Invitational, going 1-3. However, this is a team who has a lot of talent and is meshing very well, which is surprising many people because of just how young and inexperienced a few members of this team were coming into the season, according to first-year head coach Austin Albers. This is a squad who is putting its critics to rest already early into this season, matching its win total from a year ago.

Albers has a strong belief that from what he is seeing so far this early in the season, the outlook for the rest of the season is very good, and this could easily be a 20-win team.

Before season’s end, however, Albers has a few goals for the team. First, he wants to bring this team together as one solid unit of players on the court. Also he would like to develop the team as better people off the court.

The volleyball team players have created three goals for themselves this season. First, they would like to average a 3.4 GPA this semester. Coach Albers was very proud to hear that education was a top priority for the team.

Goal No. 2 created by the team was to average a 2.6 on the passing scale, which ranks from zero to three, three being a near perfect pass giving the setter all options. And, finally, the last goal was to win the Region IX conference.

What makes this team different from past LCCC volleyball squads is its ability to execute a game plan on game day. Players are very good listeners and are executing what they talked about prior to a match.

They also have depth on this roster, which Albers is very glad to have. Two returning players this season are sophomores Rory McCloy and Kanani Auwae, but this team also has 13 talented freshmen who can play a vital role in this team’s future.

Finally, this team has made its presence felt in the stat column where it’s in the top 20 in the nation in aces, which means they are scoring set points off the serve, crucial to the 14-game winning streak.

One area this team needs to improve is blocking, which Albers works on every week in practice. Also they don’t want to give set points away to opponents but be more aggressive during games.

And, finally, at one point this season this team led the country in service errors, which can prove to be costly in close matches the rest of the season.

One standout player for the Golden Eagles is a redshirt sophomore, Rory McCloy, who has assumed a leadership role. She has impressive stats this season, with 642 assists, which puts her second overall in the country and averages 10.03 assists per set, which is seventh best in the nation.

“In my personal opinion, she is one of the top, if not the top, setters in the country,” Coach Albers said. She sets the tone everyday whether it’s in practice or on game day, and she expects alot of herself and from her teammates.

Another standout player is sophomore Kanani Auwae, who has the honor of being LCCC’s farthest recruit coming in from Waianae, Hawaii. This season Auwae has improved as a player and as a leader for this squad, which Albers is happy to see. She also is putting up impressive stats, with a total 219 kills, making her fourth best in the country. According to Albers, she is a person who plays with a lot of energy and is very good at taking care of the ball. At the beginning of this season Auwae was a quiet individual who was noticed by Coach Albers, but since then she has broken out of her shell and now transfers her positive emotion to other members on the team.
For the upcoming second half for the Golden Eagles, they will notice it becoming a little bit tougher compared to past weekends when they faced two talented teams and two less talented teams.

Now upcoming in the schedule, LCCC could be facing three to possibly all four teams a weekend with a bit stronger competition. Albers is worried the team can slip and play down to the other competitor’s level.

The squad will take on the Air Force Prep team on Sept. 23 at home. Then the Eagles travel to Casper College on Sept. 27 and Eastern Wyoming College on Sept. 30. The Golden Eagles return home to play Western Wyoming Community College on Oct. 3 and Central Wyoming College on Oct. 4.