Oct 21, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorCWC is the 12th-ranked junior college team in the nation.
Momentum will be at stake for the nationally ranked Central Wyoming College volleyball team when the Rustlers finish up their home slate Tuesday night.
The Rustlers lost to Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs in their only match of the week.
Game time for the Region IX conference match with Casper College is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, at Rustler Gym.
CWC is ranked No. 12 in the nation in the last junior college volleyball poll.
"You want to go into the Region IX tournament off a win and a lot of confidence. That makes it an important match," CWC head coach Tiffany Stauffenberg said. "The team didn't play well at Casper, so they are wanting this one. I believe they will be ready to play."
CWC has a 4-1 record on its home floor this season. The only loss was a five-set setback to Western Wyoming, also a nationally ranked team.
"Our crowds have been great all season," Stauffenberg said. "Not only are there a lot of people here, but they have been vocal. They make it a fun place to play for us and a tough environment for the opponent."
The move to the No. 12 position is the highest the Rustlers have been ranked this season.
"It's another climb for us, which is what you want, but since we got to 13, I haven't even looked at the poll," Stauffenberg said. "I don't like any extra pressure on them. The numbers don't mean anything if you can't perform in the end when it matters. We did something I haven't had a team do by reaching No. 12, so that is a great accomplishment."
CWC enters the final week of the regular with an 18-7 overall record overall, 8-3 in Region IX standings.
The Rustlers are tied for second with Western Wyoming. Northwest College is first at 8-2, and Casper College s fourth (6-4).
Sophomores Kali Howe, Abigail Ehlers, Dallas Horn, Ana Tenorio and Kaitlyn Tracy Eaton will be honored before the match with the Thunderbirds.
"My sophomores deserve a lot of the credit for the success we have had," Stauffenberg said. "I have leaders in this group. They have made this team what it is."
Ehlers is the starting setter for the Rustlers. Eaton plays a big role for CWC on the outside, while Tenorio hammers downs kills.
"They have matured so much as people and continue to improve at the game," Stauffenberg said. "When I look back at when they came to Central, it's truly amazing who they have become."
The Region IX tournament will be held at Northwest College after the regular season is finished.
"I have great kids with a lot of talent, and we've had our up-and-down moments," Stauffenberg said. "This is truly a group that can take us further then we have been in seven years, but we have a very tough road to get there."
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