In the opening conference game of the year, the Plainswomen played host to the Lamar Community College Lopers on Thursday night. The women have been preparing all week for this first game because seeding in the Region tournament is crucial. Having a higher seed could put a team in an easier position to advance to nationals, so every game counts at this point.
In the first set of the match, the Plainswomen were able to take a lead and maintain the momentum. Timely kills by Kacey Jaeger and perfect passes by Sofija Pajevic allowed the girls to win the first set 25-19. Although they had won the first set, the Lopers made their fair share of errors, so the Plainswomen knew that they would come with something more.
The second set began and it was apparent that Lopers wanted to get the game tied by winning this set. They were able to get a lead and keep their composure over the Plainswomen attack. Many times Northeastern was able to get the ball to fall their way, but the Lopers were able to weather the storm and eventually win the second set 25-23.
Going into intermission, the Plainswomen were able to regroup themselves and get themselves ready for the third set. The Plainswomen have only had two previous matches that have went into five sets, with them splitting one a piece losing and winning. The girls knew that they would rather get it over in four rather than having it be pushed to five.
In the third set, it seemed as if the Plainswomen could never get into their groove and have the game play in their favor. Every time that it looked to be teetering NJC's way, the Lopers were able to string a few points together to get it back their way. Once it was all said and done, the Lopers claimed victory 25-21.
The fourth set was do or die for the Plainswomen. There was no playing patty-cake anymore with them and it was time to take care of business. The girls could not afford to lose this match, and this was their turn to bring it back around. From the start, you could tell that the ladies were dialed in and nothing was going to stop them. A few ace serves by Sara Antic helped boost the ladies' confidence even higher. No matter what the Lopers tried, the Plainswomen were there with a counter. Northeastern was able to keep themselves in the fight by winning the set 25-18.
Going into the fifth and final set, the Plainswomen knew their first conference victory was just 15 points away. With the first serve traveling through the air, one could tell that both teams were ready to play. The momentum would go back and forth between teams, and points would be exchanged left and right. The Lopers would be the ones to hit the halfway point first for the teams to switch ends. After the switch, there was an extra pep in the Lopers step. The Plainswomen seemed as if they were taken back a little, and the Lopers took full advantage. The Plainswomen could never get back in the groove and eventually lost the last set 15-11.
The women will be back to play their second conference match tomorrow (Friday October 6) against the Trinidad State Trojans with the game beginning at 7pm.