Sep 25, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorA 14-4 record to begin the season has Central Wyoming College ranked No. 20 in the latest junior college volleyball poll.
After finishing in second place at the Region IX tournament in 2011, the Rustlers ended the season in the No. 20 position.
CWC also is 3-0 in the Region IX standings. The victories in conference play have been vs. Northwest College, Laramie County Community College and Eastern Wyoming.
The Rustlers have played their first month of the season away from the Riverton campus. CWC plays at 7 p.m. in its home opener Tuesday at Rustler Gym vs. Region IX opponent Sheridan College.
"This team is very deserving of finally being in the rankings," CWC head coach Tiffany Stauffenberg said.
"We have had a tough road schedule up to this point. We have beaten some very good teams."
The Rustlers went to a tournament in Scottsdale, Ariz., a couple of weeks ago and went 7-0.
"We would like to keep climbing up, but we need to be more consistent when we play teams that are rated above us," Stauffenberg said. "We need to give ourselves a chance to win every match."
North Idaho College is ranked No. 1 in the country at 12-0. San Jacinto College-Central stands at No. 2 at 19-1. Western Nebraska sits at 16-2 and is No. 3. College of Southern Idaho checks in No. 4 with a 15-1 record. Iowa Western Community College is No. 5 at 19-1.
"We have beaten some good teams," Stauffenberg said.
"The rankings are all about scores and the teams that you beat. We would even be higher if we would play tougher against higher ranked teams.
Our scores against them haven't looked all that good. We play with them until about point 15, and then we don't finish."
Region IX opponent Western Wyoming is ranked No. 13 in the nation. The Mustangs have an early season record of 8-7. Western Wyoming beat CWC in the 2011 Region IX match. The Rustlers play a home-and-away series this year with Western.
"Western is good once again, but they are a team that we can beat," Stauffenberg said. "We will need to step up and play to our capabilities if we want to win."
After the match Tuesday night, the Rustlers play Region IX opponent Casper College Thursday on the road.
Casper College is receiving votes for a top 20 slot. Casper is 9-8 on the season.
"We need to play consistent and play well regardless of who we are playing," Stauffenberg said. "Good teams are good all the time."
Asya Oguz, from Turkey, recently joined the Rustlers to help during the rest of the season.
Stauffenberg said Oguz got more and more playing time on the volleyball court this past weekend at the Wyo-braska tournament.
"I saw her play like she did in the video when I recruited her," Stauffenberg said.
"She is fundamentally sound and makes our bench deeper.".
CWC had a 3-1 record in the two-day tournament.
The Rustlers played matches at Eastern Wyoming and Western Nebraska.
The loss to CWC in the tournament was to No. 3 ranked Western Nebraska.
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