Change is good for Cougars

Team earns trip to San Diego to play in NAIA
national tournament.
Sunday, November 21, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:18 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

When Columbia College volleyball coach Melinda Wrye-Washington asked her middle hitters who wanted to handle Central Methodist’s Roselidah Obunaga, freshman Nancy Sikobe didn’t hesitate. She wanted the job.

Obunaga is CMU’s main offensive weapon, and Sikobe said she was confident she could handle her after playing with Obunaga on the Kenyan Olympic team this summer.

“Nancy (Sikobe) knows Rose (Obunaga) so I switched our lineup rotations, so our Nancy would line up on Rose,” Wrye-Washington said. “She took her out of the game … She really contained her for the most part, and once we contained her they had no offense.”

The Cougars had no trouble shutting down the rest of the Eagles, defeating them 30-16, 30-18 and 30-20 on Saturday at the Arena of Southwell Complex. The victory earned Columbia College the Region V Tournament championship and an automatic berth in the NAIA Championships in San Diego.

After the game, senior Tracie Ford was named Region V Setter of the Year, Jacqueline Makokha, a senior outside hitter, was named Most Valuable Player and Wrye-Washington received Coach of the Year. Doris Wefwafwa and Shana Aubrey were named to the All-Region team with Ford and Makokha.

To reach the regional, Columbia College defeated Lindenwood 30-27, 30-28, 26-30, 30-17 on Friday. Along with the win against CMU, the Cougars tournament wins gave them victories against the teams that handed them two of their three losses this season.

Wrye-Washington said that the team’s losses to Lindenwood and CMU came at a point when several Cougars’ players were injured. She said losing even one game to the Lions after losing a match to them midseason disappointed Columbia College.

“They beat us,” Wrye-Washington said. “They celebrated on us. They rubbed it in. So it was nice little revenge today to get back out there and be healthy and play at the level we played.

After cutting it a little too close on Friday, Columbia College dominated CMU both offensively and defensively from the first game. The first part of the first game was close until Aubrey served two aces in a row. From then on, the Cougars took over. Sikobe and the Columbia College defense held Obunaga and the CMU offense to only 11 kills. On offense, Makokha and Wefwafwa led the team in kills with 17 each and Ford had 41 assists for the match. Aubrey finished with 9 kills and 4 blocks.

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