COOS BAY — The Southwestern Oregon Community College volleyball team is ready to plunge into the NWAC South Region season after winning its final tuneup match Monday against visiting College of the Redwoods.
The Lakers weren’t thrilled with their performance in their 25-11, 25-20, 25-20 sweep of the Corsairs, who came to town with just six players. But they are looking forward to their league opener on Wednesday against Rogue, the newcomers to the NWAC South Region.
“We’re all excited about that,” said libero Shay Zener, one of a handful of sophomores on the squad.
Even though the Ospreys are a new program, they also are the only unbeaten team in the South Region so far (SWOCC is 10-3). And they beat the Lakers in the NWAC Showcase back at the start of the preseason.
“They lit a fire in us,” Zener said. “We want to show them what we’ve got.”
She said the Lakers will have to play much better than they did Monday.
“We didn’t play to our standards,” Zener said.
In their strong start to the season, the Lakers often have had a strong offense.
“Our setters and hitters have been a lot more connected (than last year),” Zener said. “It didn’t show today, but in practice it’s been showing.”
Andria Santoyo led the Lakers on Monday with 11 kills and Amanda Clark had six. Jade Flitton, Tayler Parks and Akayla Young added three each.
Sydney Colledge had 12 assists and fellow setter Natalie Sale had 11.
Clark also had six aces and Nira Krivoshein four. Zener had nine digs and Clark seven.
Like her players, SWOCC coach Stephanie Willett is looking forward to Wednesday.
“I’ve been ready for conference for a long time,” Willett said. “I think we’re going to play better Wednesday.”
The Lakers have been limited to 10 players because two players suffered serious knee injuries. All have been contributing, also including Madeline Trippett, Willett said.
“We have a lot of solid players,” she said. “I trust all of them to be out there.
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“They just have to come out Wednesday wanting it more than Rogue does.”
The Lakers head north for the Centralia crossover in Washington this weekend and then get into the bulk of the South Region season next week with home matches against Clark and Mount Hood.
“This year, the Southern Region is going to be really interesting,” Willett said. “I know we have a very real chance of getting to NWACs.”
The top four teams at the end of the league season will advance to the NWAC tounament.
The Lakers competed last weekend in the Beat the Heat Invitational in Eureka, Calif., racing on a course with a brutal climb called The Wall that slowed all the participants.
SWOCC’s women finished second in the meet.
Hartnell College, which has won its conference title in California nine years in a row, had a perfect score in the women’s race, while SWOCC was second.
Because of the tough hill, described by SWOCC coach Anthony Collins as a five-minute climb, the winning time for the women on the 5,000-meter course was a relatively slow 23 minutes and 36 seconds, run by Daniela Salazar of Hartnell.
SWOCC’s Daniela Vimbela was 10th overall (eighth among scoring runners) in 26:03. Natalie Jossis finished in 27:47, Autumn Kasper in 28:51, Lindsay Janzer in 29:38 and Eric Hughlett in 32:02.
“In all, it was a great first effort by the Laker women,” Collins said.
The men ran a 6,400-meter course, which included a mile after scaling The Wall.
Hartnell again had a perfect score, while SWOCC did not field a full team (rive runners are needed for a team score).
Ryan O’Dell led the Lakers, placing 16th overall in 25:21. August Davidson was timed in 29:04, Nicolas Sutton in 31:40 and Eddie Cruz in 43:50.
SWOCC will get a chance to preview the NWAC championship course in Lacey, Wash., during an invitational hosted by St. Martin’s University on Sept. 28.