MCCOOK -- Western Nebraska Community College volleyball team got 16 kills each from Lilly Zwart and Kyana Gabriel in registering a five-set win over McCook Community College Tuesday evening in McCook to open Region IX South play. 

                The Cougars won 23-25, 25-14, 25-22, 23-25, 15-11 to even their record at 10-10. The Cougars have won seven straight matches over McCook dating back to 2019 and won 65 of the last 66 meetings going back to 1994. 

                The match was even between the two schools. WNCC led 22-17 and 23-19 in the first set before the Indians scored the final six points for the 25-23 win. 

                The second set saw WNCC jump to a 4-2 lead on two Gabriel service points and led 13-7 after four Dani Cruz points. The Cougars pushed the lead to 17-8 after three Finja Schul points. WNCC went up by double digits on a Gabriel kill and a Shanelle Martinez service points to lead 19-9 and won the won the second set going away 25-14 on a Zwart kill. 

                WNCC trailed just once in the third set at 1-0 and the two teams were tied just twice at 2-2 and 4-4. After that, WNCC stayed in front as they led 14-7 on three Schul points including back-to-back ace serves. The Cougars went up 18-11 and led 20-14 before McCook made a run, cutting the lead to 20-17 on back-to-back aces. WNCC led 24-19 before the Indians scored three points to make it 24-22. WNCC got the final point on a Chloe Grady kill for the 25-22 win. 

                The four set saw the Cougars jump to a 5-1 lead after three Gabriel points. McCook came back to tie the contest at 5-5 and took a 10-9 lead. WNCC fought right back to lead 16-12 on two Gabriel points. McCook regained the lead at 18-17, but a Zwart kill stopped the run and Megan Bewley served four points for a 22-18 lead.  

                The lead was short-lived as McCook served four straight to go up 24-22 and won the fourth to force a fifth set 25-23. 

                The Indians controlled the fifth set early as they led 2-0 before WNCC went up 4-2 on three Martinez points. McCook came back to lead 9-7 and later 11-10. Martinez shifted the momentum with a kill to tie the game and Cruz served the final five points with three kills from Gabriel and one from Schul to get the 15-11 win. 

                Martinez and Cruz had triple-doubles in the contest. Martinez finished with 48 set assists, 11 digs, 10 points, four kills, three assisted blocks, and an ace serve, while Cruz tallied 11 kills, 12 digs, and 23 points. 

                Gabriel had a double-double with 16 kills and 13 digs. She also had seven digs and three assisted blocks. 

                Zwart also had 16 kills with six digs and three assisted blocks, while Schul had nine kills, nine points, two aces, two digs, a solo block, and four assisted blocks. 

                Also for the Cougars, Taylor Tyser had 23 digs with five points and three aces; Bewley had 12 digs with eight points; and Grady had three kills with five assisted blocks. 

                WNCC will be back in action Friday when they travel to Lamar Community College for another Region IX South conference match.