By: Shawn O’Brate
WEST PLAINS, MO. – The Central Wyoming College (CWC) Lady Rustlers had one hell of a season last year, ending with a ninth-place finish in the nation with a loss in the first round of the NJCAA Division One National Tournament, leading to high expectations all season long this year.
Head Coach Darshaya Gallard and her girls all responded extremely well after such a phenomenal ending to the 2021-22 season, even after starting 4-6. After that start the Lady Rustlers would rattle off 19 wins in their next 20 matches as they found their groove and had some players return from injury.
Coach Gallard was correct in believing they were good enough to beat USUE despite their previous matchup, because that’s exactly what they did in five sets (21-25, 25-15, 22-25, 25-13, 15-13) on Thursday.
After beating USUE, the Lady Rustlers had to have a quick turnaround and play the #1 team in the tournament, Florida SouthWestern State College, whom they would lose to in three straight sets (21-25, 15-25, 17-25).
On the second day of play the Lady Rustlers started off by losing to Western Nebraska Community College, a team that CWC went 1-1 against in the regular season, in three straight sets (22-25, 16-25, 12-25).
Eventually the Lady Rustlers would pull out the victory in the fifth set (25-22, 25-23, 21-25, 20-25, 15-9), placing them at seventh in the nation when it was all said and done.
At the end of the weekend CWC Freshman Alicja Jaryszek was named to the All-Tournament team alongside 11 of the best volleyball players in the country, Haruka Sugimoto was named a nominee for All-American status after finishing seventh overall in digs, and Lauryn Arnold finished number one in the nation in block assists.
“I just want to thank the school and the community so much for supporting us all season, it was really awesome,” Coach Gallard gushed at the end of weekend.