Ale Meoni had 16 kills and the No. 18 Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team swept past Northwest College 25-22, 25-11, 25-13 Thursday evening at Cougar Palace.

                AnaKaren Chavez, who had 11 points and eight digs from her libero position, said once the team warmed up, they played well.

                “I think we played very well overall,” Chavez of Laredo, Texas, said. “The first set was a little rough, but we got a wake-up call and realized we weren’t playing our game and we came out strong the second and third set.

                WNCC definitely played lights out the second and third set allowing just a combined 24 points to Northwest.

                “We all came out and did our part,” Chavez said about the difference of the first and second, third sets. “The chemistry was there, and we came out the last two sets and played as a team.
                WNCC were back and forth in the first set as Northwest held a 10-6 lead after two service points from Karli Steiner. WNCC came back as Erica Fava had three points to tie the set at 12-12 and then WNCC led 23-19 after two Macey Boggs points. WNCC led 24-20 before a kill by Meoni ended the set 25-22.

                The second and third sets were totally opposite of the first set as WNCC dominated. The second set saw WNCC run out to a 9-1 lead after six points from Fava, including back-to-back ace serves. WNCC pushed the lead to 16-3 on two Meoni points which were aided by two Hyleigh Fornstrom kills. WNCC led never looked back after that as the Cougars led 22-10 and won 25-11 on two Meoni points.

                The third set was another strong serving game as Fava started the set off with four points for a 5-0 lead. WNCC led 10-1 after four Chavez points. The Cougars went up 16-3 just like the second set on a Jenna Curtis service point.

                Northwest sliced the lead to single digits at 17-9 on three points from Paige Weimer and later at 19-10, but WNCC was too strong down the stretch as Laura Milori had back-to-back kills to put WNCC up 23-11 and Jayla Brehmer served the final point for the match at 25-13.

                Chavez said there is a lot of talent on this team.

                “We have very good talent on this team,” the freshman said. “We have strong hitters and smart setters placing the ball where the hitters need it to get that kill and us on defense executing and making sure every ball is placed ot our setter so we can all click.”

                WNCC finished the match with a total of 42 kills with eight ace serves. Meoni led the way with 16 kills followed by Fava with seven, Fornstrom with six, Milori with five, and Curtis and Angel Nahinu each with four.

                Also for the Cougars, Boggs had 35 set assists, seven digs, and five points; Holleigh Jaime had three digs; Alexis Keoho had four set assists; Fava had 12 digs, 15 points, four aces, and four assists; and Curtis had four digs and three points.

                WNCC, 13-8, will be back in action on Friday when they host Otero College at 6 p.m. at Cougar Palace followed by a match on Saturday when Trinidad State College comes to town for a 2 p.m. contest. Northwest drops to 14-2 and will face Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne on Friday and then a Saturday afternoon contest in Eastern Wyoming College.

                Chavez said the team needs to keep the energy up to beat Otero on Friday.

                “I think we just need to bring it like we did today [Thursday],” she said. “We need to play our game like we always do and come out with a go-getter attitude and prove what we can do as a team. We need to go in strong every point, set, and match.”