COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL: Odessa College advances in conference tournament with first round sweep

Sleeping in their own beds seems to work for the members of the Odessa College volleyball team.

With setter Elif Yasar calmly directing the offense, the Lady Wranglers were in control from the outset in defeating Western Texas College 25-16, 25-22, 25-16, in the first round of the Region V West tournament Friday at the OC Sports Center.

The victory moves Odessa College into the semifinals against top-seed New Mexico Military Institute at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The winner will advance to the championship match at 4 p.m. against the winner of the Midland College-New Mexico JC match.

The Lady Wranglers, who had just nine healthy players on the sideline, now are 9-2 at home this season, including a five-set victory against New Mexico Military Institute.

“This season has been all about overcoming adversity and I think the girls have bought into nothing is going to come easy and there are going to be ups and down and I think they are ready to fight and just earn it out there,” Odessa College coach Dayana Acevedo-Rios said.

“I think right now they know that it’s all or nothing, so they are ready to compete. In a sense, they are just playing for each other; they have to have each other’s back because nothing is going to come out and save them.”

What saved the Lady Wranglers on this night was the hitting of Daniel Rodrigues, Ainara Fernandez, Brianna Mock and Yasmin Figueriedo.

Time and again they were put in position to succeed by Yasar and the quartet delivered, either with power or finesse, keeping the Lady Westerners at bay.

Acevedo-Rios did see her team dig deep in the second set as Western Texas led throughout most of the set, including 19-16 with the serve.

But a kill by Figueriedo brought the ball back to the Lady Wranglers and Serenity Mamizuka went back to the service line for three straight points to put Odessa College in front, 20-19.

From there, the teams traded points until the Lady Wranglers three of the final four points to win the set.

>> Follow Lee Scheide on Twitter at @OALeeScheide