In a strange twist of fate, the NCHS volleyball team has posted their most wins in over a decade but still head to Sundance as the #4 SE seed for regionals this weekend. A loss to Southeast muddied the picture but then Glenrock beat Pine Bluffs for a second time, and the Lady Tigers found themselves looking up at a team they had beaten twice.
Friday night in Yoder, it appeared the Lusk girls were overlooking a team that had lost in three to Lingle-Ft. Laramie the night before. The Wyopreps #4 Lady Cyclones celebrated Senior Night and came all out right away with a 7-3 start. NCHS tied the first set at nine on an Amanda Smith kill and Trisha Hales put NCHS up 14-9 with five in a row from the service line. The home team woke up and took a 17-15 lead before it became tied at 22. SE was able to take the first set 25-23.
In the second set the Lady Tigers struggled with communication and errors as SE took a lead they never surrendered. Lusk was not closer than 13-11 in the 25-17 final score.
The third set was close early as the teams traded leads before Ashley Christianson helped NCHS to an 18-11 edge. All of a sudden the Lady Cyclones came back to tie it at 19 and 21 before stealing the 25-22 sweep. While Southeast earned the top seed for regionals, NCHS was left twisting in the wind until the Lady Herders went to Pine Bluffs and won on Saturday.
NCHS TEAM STATS: Serving 54/62, 87 percent; 25 kills; 22 assists; 5 blocks; 41 digs/78 atts, 53 percent.
NCHS PLAYER STATS: Serving- Christianson 19/19; Smith 7/7; Hales 10/11; Gilkey 9/10. Kills- Hales 7; Reygan Molzahn 7; Gilkey 4; Smith 4. Assists- Christianson 21. Digs- Taylor Gaukel 10, Hales 10.
Saturday at 1A Lingle-Ft Laramie the Lady Tigers were a step slow off the bus and found themselves down 1-0 with a tight 25-21 first set loss. The second set was another close affair all the way, yet NCHS found a way to win 25-23.
With the match tied at one, Lusk took control in the third set as they won 25-17. To set the message straight the Lady Tigers closed the match with another 25-17 win in the fourth set.
NCHS TEAM STATS: Serving 80/91, 88 percent; 51 kills; 47 assists; 8 blocks; 93 digs/116 atts, 80 percent.
NCHS PLAYER STATS: Serving- Christianson 29/29; Gilkey 17/18; Smith 9/10; Gaukel 9/11; Hales 9/11. Kills- Smith 13; Molzahn 12; Hales 10; Gaukel 8; Gilkey 7. Assists- Christianson 44. Digs- Hales 25; Gaukel 22; Gilkey 13; Smith 13. Blocks- Smith 5; Hales 3.
The JV wrapped up their season with a three set loss to Southeast (25-14, 23-25 and 9-25) before rebounding to win at LFL 25-13 and 25-22. They finished with a 5-12-3 record, while going 3-5 in the SEWAC. The C squad won their season finales at SE 25-22 and 25-18 and at LFL 25-12 and 25-21.
NCHS opens against the top-ranked and home team at the 2A East Regional Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. at Sundance High School. Win or lose they play again at 7 p.m. All tournament brackets and ticket prices can be found at whsaa.org.