HUTCHINSON, Kansas – The Laramie County Community College volleyball team picked up a five-set (18-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-23, 15-12) thriller over New Mexico Military Institute on Friday morning at the Hutchinson Sports Arena in a NJCAA National Tournament match.
The Golden Eagles improved to 30-9 overall, while New Mexico Military fell to 29-9. LCCC holds on can still fight for 9th place at the tournament.
Sophomore Avery Nelson (Colorado Springs, Colorado) paced Laramie County with a career-high 25 kills, while Kylie Martin (Gypsum, Colorado) had 14 and Elizabeth Clark (Sandy, Utah) added 10. Sophomore setter Kasandra Sturges (Parker, Colorado) recorded a team-best 35 assists. Kyle Meltzer (Fort Collins, Colorado) had a team-high 17 digs. Freshman Cassidy Nelson (South Jordan, Utah) and Avery Nelson recorded two service aces apiece.
Freshman Alessia Venturelli (Modena, Italy) and Martin added nine and eight digs, respectively, to the defensive efforts. Clark held a team-high nine blocks, while Avery Nelson and Payton Stack (Casper, Wyoming recorded six.
LCCC held a team hitting clip of .225, compared to New Mexico Military at .187.
New Mexico Military pulled away from a tight early set with 9-1 run for a 19-9 advantage. The Broncos fought off a little run by the Golden Eagles. Laramie County would end up coming up short as a Golden Eagles' attacking error sealed a 25-18 first set win for New Mexico Military.
LCCC brought momentum in set two, taking a 5-2 lead. The opening run included a massive kill from Stack and Jazzy Espinoza (Cheyenne, Wyoming). NMMI would then go on a little run to take the lead at 14-12. The Golden Eagles regained the lead at 21-20 and didn't let the Broncos come any closer for the remainder of the set, while the Golden Eagles tied the match at 1-1, with a 25-21 second set win.
The beginning of the third set was a back-and-forth affair, before the Broncos took a six point lead midway through. NMMI fought off several short runs by LCCC and took a 25-23 third set victory over the Golden Eagles.
The two teams alternated points in the fourth set down the stretch. A Clark killed gave LCCC the advantage early with a 14-8 lead. A 9-2 run set the Broncos even with the Golden Eagles. A Martin kill put the Golden Eagles in position to win the set. Laramie County took the final point and the 25-23 win in the fourth set.
New Mexico Military quickly jumped ahead to a 5-2 lead in the final set, however the Golden Eagles inched their way back into the set. A service ace by Avery Nelson leveled the teams at 8-8. A massive block gave LCCC a 12-10 lead and on path to seal a 15-12 fifth set victory to win the five-set battle.
Laramie County closes out the day later today taking on #11 Snow College at 4:30 PM CT for a spot in tomorrow 9th place Championship game.