ROCK SPRINGS — The Western Wyoming Community College volleyball team has received national votes for a spot in the NJCAA’s top 20 rankings. Votes for the rankings are administered each week to teams across the nation. The Mustangs have earned votes for several weeks in a row.
The widely successful season hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows. Success for Western has come through adapting, overcoming and executing.
From Rags to Riches
Western began the season with an ugly 2-7 record in their first nine games of the season. The losing trend was real and certainly wasn’t how head coach Fredann Soto looked to begin the year. With a good mix of sophomores and freshmen on the team, finding the team chemistry early attributed to the struggles at the beginning of the year.
However, the slow start was soon forgotten as a 15-game win streak ensued. After switching up the lineup and seeing the team’s hitting and dig percentages increase, the wins soon began to follow. The win streak quickly altered the course for the Mustangs and has now pushed them into the national spotlight. Soto credits the small adjustments the team made that has helped them find success one game at a time.
“We made a few little adjustments,” Soto said. “It cured a lot of error when we did that and it’s been working ever since. We’re not going to fix what’s not broken.”
The adjustments also led to more team chemistry and a stronger bond of trust within the group of girls.
“I have anybody off the bench that can come in and play. I can switch a back if I need to now because I think they are a lot more comfortable being where they are.”
Bringing Down the Giants
In the midst of Western’s win streak, Soto claims that the “turning point” in the season came after two impressive victories against top ranked Utah State University Eastern and Salt Lake Community College.
The 12th ranked USU Eastern team welcomed the visiting Mustangs towards the end of a long stretch of road games. Western took care of business and defeated the Golden Eagles in three sets. Three days later, Western walked into 9th ranked SLCC and once again upset another nationally ranked team in four sets.
“I think that was the turning point,” Soto said. “They became aware of who they needed to be and how to overcome any obstacle.”
With seven games left in the regular season, the team recognizes the need to remain humble and avoid overlooking any opponent. Western is currently 17-9 on the season with a 7-2 record in conference play. Despite the success so far, the Mustangs still have unfinished business with the postseason right around the corner in November.
“It’s working for us,” Soto said. “They are loving it. It’s awesome, they are doing well.”