Lancers tied for 1st after 2-win weekend

Eastern Wyoming College vs. Northwest College

Two more home wins and some good fortune elsewhere in the state has the Eastern Wyoming College volleyball team tied for first place in Region IX-North.

The Lancers swept Northwest College on Friday night and took down Sheridan College in four sets on Saturday to improve to 19-8 overall and 5-1 in the North. EWC is tied atop the standings with Western Wyoming, which fell at home to Central Wyoming on Thursday, though the Mustangs currently hold the head-to-head tiebreaker thanks to a five-set win in Torrington on Oct. 5.

A rematch this Saturday in Rock Springs will have major implications for Region Tournament seeding.

"Thanks to us taking care of business at home and getting some help from Central, we're now back to controlling our own fate. If we can play strong on the road this weekend we can take a pretty firm hold of that top seed," EWC head coach Dante Geoffrey said. "But it's important for us to know this isn't just a two-team race. Laramie County has been playing good volleyball and sits just a game behind us, and Central has obviously proven throughout this season they can knock anyone off on any given day."

The Lancers opened the weekend with a 25-12, 25-18, 25-12 sweep of the Trappers behind a balanced offensive attack and smart, calm approach on defense.

Outsides Charlène Hosly and Vanja Pržulj scored eight kills apiece, middle Lauren Feierabend and sophomore opposite Tina Betham each tallied six and middles Janaya Sims and Allie White each had four.

Hosly led the Lancers with 15 digs, followed by eight from libero J'Adore Hayes, who also scored two service aces.

Setter Devyn Volz had a team-high 12 assists in two sets, followed by 11 from Vittoria Cacciavillani and six from Lexi Trowbridge.

Sims' four block assists paced the Lancers net defense.

"They did a great job staying within themselves and consistently making the right play in the right situation," Geoffrey said of his team's winning demeanor. "We scored 37 kills despite not getting a lot of opportunities in three quick sets. We maximized our chances and that's all you can ask for."

Saturday's match against the Generals started sloppy, but after falling 22-25 in the first set the Lancers rallied for three straight (25-8, 27-25, 25-18) sets and a four-set victory.

Prior to the match EWC honored its six sophomores and some of that emotion may have carried into the first set.

"It's hard to say, and you don't want to make excuses, but it can be hard to get your competitive edge when you just pondered the end of your Lancer career and stood still for about 10 minutes," Geoffrey said. "Still, when you fall behind 13-5 that should be your wake up. It's a lesson in distractions and regaining your focus regardless what else is going on."

Eastern Wyoming College vs. Sheridan College

Pržulj was an offensive force with 15 kills and a .387 hitting percentage.

"She had a really nice week, starting with NJC on Tuesday. When she gets in her groove, she's a go-to player that is really hard to stop," Geoffrey said.

Opposite Alyssa Parmelee scored 10 kills and a .375 hitting percentage while also adding three block assists.

Trowbridge had a team-high 20 assists to go with five assists and three aces. Volz had 13 assists and a team-best five aces. Cacciavillani had 11 assists and four digs.

Hayes led the way in the back row with 19 digs and two aces.

Betham was third on EWC with nine kills.

The Lancers play against Region IX-South opponent Northeastern Junior College at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in Sterling.