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‘Survival’ top priority for Trapper volleyball

Northwest College volleyball sophomore Jamila Biglow (center) elevates for a spike as teammate Krystalyn Sloan attempts a block from the other side of the net during drills Friday at Cabre Gym. Northwest College volleyball sophomore Jamila Biglow (center) elevates for a spike as teammate Krystalyn Sloan attempts a block from the other side of the net during drills Friday at Cabre Gym. Tribune photo by Joe Alberico

Most teams returning nine players from a squad that finished eighth in the nation would be in pretty good shape.

Northwest College volleyball coach Shaun Pohlman believes his team is one of those squads, but is also hoping that what looks good on paper will generate positive results.

“The experience is there, the talent is there ... now our players just need to take the tools that we’ve given them and apply them,” Pohlman said. “Where this team goes this season is only up to them.”

Pohlman’s conservative approach to making any bold claims is understandable. While sporting a roster of nine sophomores is a plus, the Trappers will be without two-time NJCAA All-American and All-Conference Ana Jakovljevic, who signed with Division I Eastern Washington after last season. The loss could show at times on the court, but Pohlman is confident his team has what it needs in place to make up for any talent departures.

“One player doesn’t make a team, we know that and we preach that,” Pohlman added. “But it’s important for the girls to continue to move forward as individuals and as a team to grow.”

One player that could help the team immediately is Nicci Bloomer, who was forced to walk the sidelines as an assistant coach last fall after a tibia injury ended her season prematurely. Bloomer said she is at full strength and eager to get the Trappers back to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament.

“We all want it,” Bloomer said. “Having to watch all of the action unfold from the sidelines last year was tough for me, but it also motivated me to come back stronger and more ready for the season. I think right now we’re all dying to get things underway.”

NWC’s finish in the national tournament in April was the best in Pohlman’s eight-year stint as a head coach. He knows good things could await the Trappers, but again reiterated the their ability to survive the ups and downs over the course of the year will either make or break them.

“You put someone in the wild, give them a few tools to survive, and you kinda watch to see if they’re going to do what’s necessary to keep going,” Pohlman said. “It’s not going to be easy. I can’t tell you if every player on this team has that ability. But after last year, I know they have the desire to survive and take this team as far as it can go.”

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