Lady Rustlers fall to Northwest in home openerSep 24, 2017 By Scott Akanewich, Sports Editor
On Friday night at Rustler Gym, it was homecoming.
The Central Wyoming College volleyball squad finally made its home debut after playing the first 11 matches of the new season on the road.
In addition, a familiar face returned to Fremont County as Shoshoni alum Tammy Maddock and her new Northwest College teammates were the opponents on a festive evening before a full grandstand of supporters, as the visitors from Powell would go on to gain a 3-1 (25-12, 25-18, 22-25, 25-19) victory.
However, it was Maddock's Trappers teammate, 6-foot-5 Aleksandra Saric, a Montenegro native, who quickly imposed her will on the proceedings, producing the opening kill of the match, as Northwest quickly built a first-set lead which stretched to as much as 15-3.
Rylee Burmester, who led the Lady Rustlers with 11 kills on the evening, pulled a pair of points back, including an ace, but the visitors emerged with a 25-12 set victory.
Northwest also prevailed in the second stanza, 25-18.
But, Central wasn't going down without a fight on this night.
The Lady Rustlers fell behind to begin the third set, then came back with the score never being more than a point apart much of the way, until the home side took its first lead of the match, at 12-11, on a Tamara Lukic kill at the midpoint of the set.
A pair of Jensen Paris kills and a Kayla Coles block allowed Central to hold off the Trappers by a 25-22 scoreline for a set victory to get right back into the match.
The Lady Rustlers won the opening point of the fourth set, but it would be their only lead, as Northwest closed out the set and the match by a score of 25-19.
Along with Burmester's 11 kills, Lukic had eight and Paris added seven, while freshman Naz Sahin recorded 23 assists and Brooklenn Thompson had 15 digs.
Despite defeat, Central head coach Darshaya Gallard was pleased with the effort and determination her squad showed, she said.
"We fought to the end," said Gallard, in her first season as Orange-and-Black bench boss. "We broke through the ice in the third set because we stayed calm and started to trust ourselves."
On Saturday, Central returned to the court less than 24 hours after the opener to host Miles Community College and came away with a 3-0 (25-13, 25-17, 25-13) victory against the Lady Pioneers.
Once again, it was Burmester, who led the offensive assault with 14 kills, to go with nine from Paris and six each from Lukic and Coles.
Riley Haderlie contributed 27 assists, while Burmester had 17 digs, Kassi Falslev 12 and Alyssa Barkhurst 10 in the victory.
According to Gallard, her squad is still a work in progress.
"We're still figuring out who's going to be out on the court in certain situations," said Gallard. "Our three in the back row have really been stepping it up."
But, Gallard acknowledged another ally her club had in its first two home matches of the season.
"The crowd was awesome," said Gallard. "We really felt their support on the court."
Central (4-9, 1-1 Region IX North) will next host Western Wyoming Community College on Wednesday at 7 p.m.