Kelsey Watkins, right, knocks the ball over the net for the Colorado Northwestern Community College volleyball team Tuesday in a game against Western Wyoming Community College at Moffat County High School. The CNCC Spartans lost straight games to fall to Western Wyoming, but provided a collegiate athletic experience for Craig residents.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

Kelsey Watkins, right, knocks the ball over the net for the Colorado Northwestern Community College volleyball team Tuesday in a game against Western Wyoming Community College at Moffat County High School. The CNCC Spartans lost straight games to fall to Western Wyoming, but provided a collegiate athletic experience for Craig residents.

CNCC volleyball plays today at MCHS

photo

Caitlyn Berry, a freshman at Colorado Northwestern Community College, prepares to hit the ball Tuesday at Moffat County High School. CNCC fell to Western Wyoming Community College in straight games, 25-17, 25-7 and 25-18.

Remaining 2011 schedule for the Colorado Northwestern Community College volleyball team:

(Date — location — event/opponent)

• Sept. 8 — away — Otero Junior College

• Sept. 9 — away — Otero Tournament

• Sept. 16 — away — Western Wyoming Community College

• Sept. 24 — away — College of Eastern Utah

• Sept. 30 — home — Salt Lake College

• Oct. 1 — home — Snow College

• Oct. 4 — away — College of the Rockies

• Oct. 5 — away — College of the Rockies

• Oct. 6 — away — Northern Idaho College

• Oct. 8 — away — College of Southern Idaho

• Oct. 15 — home — College of Eastern Utah

• Oct. 21 — away — Snow College

• Oct. 22 — away — Salt Lake College

• Oct. 28 — home — College of Southern Idaho

• Oct. 29 — home — Northern Idaho College

• Nov. 4 — away — Region XVIII Tournament

• Nov. 5 — away — Region XVIII Tournament

• Nov. 18 — away — NJCAA National Tournament

— All home games are played at the CNCC Rangely campus

While Craig residents usually flock to Moffat County High School to support the Bulldogs, locals had a rare opportunity Tuesday to support a different team.

The Colorado Northwestern Community College volleyball team, based at the Rangely campus, played Western Wyoming Community College Tuesday at MCHS.

The CNCC Spartans (1-4), coached by Richard Barker, have played at MCHS in the past, and Barker said it’s a great opportunity to showcase the school and the athletic program.

“We got a chance to show our program to the Western part of the state,” Barker said. “We are a small school, but we do have athletics, and people can see the level we play at and what we can do.”

The Spartans lost in straight games Tuesday, 25-17, 25-7 and 25-18, to fall to Western Wyoming, but brought a different level of competition to MCHS.

Barker, who is entering his fifth year as head coach at CNCC, has 14 girls on his squad this season.

However, unlike universities, players only suit up for two years as a Spartan.

The trick, he said, is to expect about one solid year out of each player.

“As a freshman, I think the girls get an eye opener in their first year,” he said. “Then, after their first season, they really see what it takes to play at a collegiate level.”

The Spartans played in their first tournament Friday and Saturday at Sheridan College in Sheridan, Wyo.

With less time for the players to develop, Barker said maturation level is quicker as both an athlete and an individual.

So, after the first weekend, the coach said his players would approach things differently.

“In high school, you have time to react, but in college, you have to learn to anticipate,” he said. “Once they develop, they will know the play and be able to respond.

“A lot of girls in high school have time to be able to watch the ball go over the net. Now, they can’t just focus on the ball setter or the ball hitter, they need to be watching the ball so they can read and react.”

One of the biggest game planning changes the girls must adjust to, Barker said, is learning to read offenses and defenses.

“Some things teams do in high school won’t work at this level,” he said. “It wasn’t as crucial to be able to read the offenses and defenses in high school, but that is something they must learn and adjust to accordingly.”

Sandy Camilletti, the MCHS varsity volleyball head coach, said having CNCC play in Craig is a great learning experience for her players.

“It is a big deal for the girls to be able to see the game being played at (the collegiate) level,” she said. “You always learn if you watch players better than you, and it is important for my players to see how advanced the CNCC players are just out of high school.”

An added bonus, Camilletti said, is she hoped to get some time to “pick” Barker’s brain, one coach to another.

While CNCC has two campuses, including the one in Craig, the sports are played at the Rangely campus.

Gene Bilodeau, vice president of administration at the Craig campus, said having the Spartans come to Craig provides a different experience for the community.

“Bringing college athletics to Craig is something new for the community,” he said. “MCHS and Craig are real sports-minded and are used to seeing kids go from T-ball all the way up, but now they will have an opportunity to see college teams play.”

Click here to have the print version of the Craig Daily Press delivered to your home.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.