Oct 11, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorThe Rustlers are now first in in the RegionR00;IX conference standings with a 7-2 record.
Central Wyoming College now has the upper hand over Northwest College in the Region IX conference and sits in first place in the standings after an emotional four-set victory Wednesday at Rustler Gym.
Before a vocal crowd, the nationally ranked CWC volleyball program took down the Trappers 25-15, 17-25, 26-24, 25-23 to complete the conference sweep. The Rustlers are 7-2 in the league. Northwest College fell to 6-2. CWC remains ranked No. 13 in the junior college volleyball poll. Northwest is receiving votes for the top 20.
"Both teams are playing good right now," CWC women's head coach Tiffany Stauffenberg said. "That match could have went either way. I'm very pleased on the outcome. You have to give a lot of credit to Northwest."
The Rustlers had on pink uniforms in the victory to raise money for cancer treatment.
"It was so fun to wear pink," CWC setter Abigail Ehlers said. "I come from a family of four brothers, so I don't have a lot of pink things. It's fun to go out there and support a good cause and fun to play the game that you love."
The Rustlers played Sheridan College on the road Thursday night for a quick turnaround in the schedule.
"It's a long trip," Stauffenberg said. "You hope that the bus ride doesn't hurt them. I like to make that Sheridan trip and go the night before. Unfortunately, we couldn't because we had back-to-back games."
Stauffenberg said the key for the Rustlers was handling Northwest's Ana Jakovljevic.
The freshman standout is from Valvejo, Serbia, and is a dangerous weapon from anywhere on the floor. Jakovljevic, No. 9, did record some thundering kills, but the Rustlers never let her dominate on the outside.
"We controlled Northwest's No. 9," Stauffenberg said. "The set that we lost, she scored several points for them."
After the second set loss by the Rustlers, Stauffenberg had middle blocker Ana Tenorio keep an eye out on her. The decision by Stauffenberg worked for the Rustlers in the third and fourth sets as CWC walked off the gym with the victory.
"I made an adjustment and put Ana on the right side," Stauffenberg said.
"She got a couple of big blocks early on. After that No. 9 had some unforced errors, some hitting errors. She started to tip."
Ehlers led CWC's offense with 41 assists.
"The win was huge," Ehlers said. "The big impact that we had was our enthusiasm. I feel like when we believe in each other and believe in what we have on the court, we play to our best."
CWC's outside hitter Flavia Araujo was the No. 1 attacker for the home team when a crucial point was needed in the tight match.
Araujo finished with 14 kills and came up huge in the fourth set.
With the score deadlocked at 21-21, Araujo slammed down back-to-back kills for a 23-21 lead to propel the Rustlers to the two-point victory.
"Flavia is going to have that kind of match every game," Stauffenberg said.
"She is very consistent. Abigail pushed the ball out to the pin for her.
Flavia can go down the line or cross court. She is playing a lot better off of Abigail. That is why Abigail is in the lineup."
Ehlers said Araujo is like a rock star on the volleyball court.
"I trust her with the ball, especially in the clutch," Ehlers said. "She knows when it's time to go."
Kaitlyn Tracy Eaton had 13 kills, and Tenorio finished with 12 kills.
"Kaitlyn had one of her best matches of the season," Stauffenberg said. "She had a smile on her face. She was relaxed and played with a lot of confidence."
CWC 3, Northwest 1 -- Abigail Ehlers, two kills, two blocks, 11 digs 41 assists; Ana Tenorio, 12 kills, four blocks, two digs; Kaitlyn Tracy Eaton 13 kills, two aces, three blocks, 15 digs; Flavia Araujo, 14 kills, one ace, two blocks, Marissa Cutts, eight digs, four kills, two blocks, two digs, Jess Foy, one ace, 16 digs; Asya Oguz, six kills, two aces, one block, six digs; Kali Howe, one ace, three digs.