The Yavapai College volleyball team was coming off a 3-0 victory over Mesa Community College last week when the women packed their bags and took their gaudy 13-1 record to the Midwest.
It wasn’t the first time the Prescott school has been tested against teams from other states. The Roughriders have already played against teams from California, Wyoming, and Kansas. And beat ’em all.
But their trip to Scottsbluff, Nebraska, over the weekend didn’t go as well.
The Roughriders, who hadn’t lost a match since Sept. 1, participated in the Wyo-Braska Shootout over the weekend, a tournament hosted by nationally-ranked Western Nebraska Community College. It was a good opportunity to sharpen their game before returning to conference play Wednesday, when they take on Gilbert-Chandler Community College in yet another away match; the Riders have only had five home dates all season.
Yavapai got off to a good start at the Shootout, as a couple of local standouts led the way in the opening win on Thursday over Casper College of Wyoming. The final score was 3-0, but every match was hotly-contested, with the Riders eeking out the win, 25-22, 25-23, 25-21.
Jessica Durbin, Yavapai’s freshman setter from Sunnyslope High School in Phoenix, had 17 assists to help the cause. Teammate Sam Eastburn, another freshman who was recruited out of Cactus High School in Glendale, contributed 19 digs. Haley Shackelford led the attack with 17 kills and Rachel Lindley had 15 asssists and two aces.
The 5’5″ Durbin was named the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference Player of the Week just before heading out to Nebraska. She averaged 7.7 assists per game and had a .667 hitting percentage in the Riders’ victories over Arizona Western and South Mountain CC.
The week prior to that, Shackelford, a 6’1″ sophomore outside hitter from Colorado, took Player of the Week honors
Shackelford led the Riders in the second game, but her six kills were a good indication of the difficulty the team had against No. 9-ranked Laramie County Community College. Laramie rolled over Yavapai, 10-25, 20-25, 16-25.
The slide continued on Friday, as the Riders suffered a couple more losses to the first two schools it faced, before winning the day’s finale. They took Sheridan College of Wyoming to four high-scoring games (25-15, 22-25, 24-26, 23-25) before succumbing, and then ran into tournament host, Western Nebraska CC. Yavapai fell in straight sets to the No. 3-ranked Cougars.
Its second, and final, win of the tournament came in the match-up with Eastern Wyoming to close out Friday play. That match went to four sets before Yavapai pulled it out. Eastburn averaged 4.2 digs per game and LeAnna Lloyd, a freshman middle blocker, averaged 2.5 kills to lead the Riders in the win. Durbin and Lindley each contributed more than four assists per game.
The tournament wrapped on Saturday with a loss to Northwest College (Wyoming), 1-3.