SHERIDAN — Despite a tremendous fourth-set comeback, the Sheridan College volleyball team lost Saturday in five sets to Northwest College, 23-25, 25-22, 25-18, 22-25, 15-10.
The Lady Generals are now 7-5 in conference with about two weeks of play left in the regular season. It was a nearly-even match Saturday until the second half of the fifth set when Sheridan seemed a little unnerved by the pressure.
The Lady Generals led 8-7, then had several errors and some subpar passes, allowing Northwest a few easy kills at the net. The match ended on a Sheridan passing error.
Sheridan head coach Jennifer Stadler said the team fought hard through the match but got a little timid at the end. The players were trying not to make mistakes, she said, as opposed to hitting the ball aggressively, which was part of what got the team into a fifth set.
The Lady Generals played a well-rounded first set, as strong net play helped the team build a 17-13 lead. The Lady Trappers responded, however, tying the set at 23 before Sheridan ended the set with a kill and a block.
It was the first set that Sheridan won against Northwest, which improved its conference record to 7-2 with Saturday’s win. The Lady Trappers swept Sheridan on Sept. 28, 25-20, 25-16, 25-19. Stadler said it was encouraging that the team was competing and not rolling over like it did in a few matches earlier in the season.
The Lady Generals had a great opportunity to go up two sets but were not able to close out the second set. Sheridan’s defense allowed the Lady Generals to set up their outside hitters and take a 13-7 lead, but the Lady Trappers again responded with excellent net play of their own. Still, Sheridan led 22-20. But Northwest got a couple impressive blocks and won the set on an ace.
Both teams performed well at the net, challenging each other throughout the match. Sheridan was led by Mykalia Jensen, who had 13 kills and five blocks, and Miranda Gallagher, who ended with 11 kills and five blocks.
Northwest controlled the third set, winning relatively easily. The Lady Trappers carried their strong play into the fourth set and looked like they might run away with it, going up 13-5 thanks to great outside and middle hitting and a few Sheridan errors.
But the Lady Generals came charging back.
“Something in their mindset changed,” Stadler said. “They didn’t want the game to be over. They have to have that mental toughness throughout; they can’t just have that when they’re so far in the hole.”
Sheridan’s defense ramped up, and the team had some well-placed kills to tie the set at 17. The two teams then went back and forth, but Sheridan was able to score the last 3 points of a thrilling set, courtesy of a block and two kills.
While the Lady Generals couldn’t put everything together to earn a win, Stadler said she thought the team’s resilience and defensive hustle were encouraging takeaways.
Sheridan’s next game is Friday at Laramie County Community College.