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SLCC spikers are on a roll

Bruins are 2nd in nation with 34-1 record

TAYLORSVILLE — Having won their last 20 matches and holding a 34-1 record overall, the Salt Lake Community College Lady Bruins have battled to an NJCAA Division I second-place ranking and are streaking toward the national tournament.

The Bruins are playing with such strength now that in their most recent win (a 3-0 sweep of Colorado Northwestern CC), four starters didn't even see action, while many of the freshmen got some work. During tournament play, SLCC went 29-1 and is 5-0 overall in the Scenic West Athletic Conference (SWAC).

"Tourney season is grueling," SLCC coach Shay Goulding said. "Now we only have two matches a week, but they count more, so it's taxing in a different way."

In a recent, particularly important, win, SLCC swept nine-time national champion and 10th-ranked College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls.

"They've got a huge presence, especially in their house," Goulding said.

Last year, SLCC placed 11th at the national tournament and finished with a 29-17 record. With nine returning sophomores, the veteran squad has played consistently from the get-go this season.

"I think the difference in this year and last year is experience," libero Morgan Lloyd said. "We are more comfortable with each other. We know what to expect from our coaches and in practice and it shows."

The Bruins have a lot of confidence heading into the final stretch. Their only loss this year is to No. 1-ranked Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) during tournament play. WNCC's only loss this year is to SLCC on the very same day and in the very same tournament.

"We beat them in pool play and then they beat us later that day," Lloyd said. "We've got so much talent. If we just stay together as a team and go for it, we can do it."

The Bruins are led by Cinthia Silva (3.5 kpg, 2.5 dpg), Samantha Richard (3.2 kpg, 3.2 dpg, .65 aces pg), Talita Santos (0.9 bpg, 2.7 kpg), Michaela Hanakova (10.7 apg, 2.03 dpg), and Lloyd (4.1 dpg).

SLCC continues conference play Thursday at home against Snow College at 7 p.m. and Oct. 19 at home against North Idaho College at 7 p.m.


E-mail: hbruce@desnews.com