MARSHALLTOWN — Southwestern went 2-2 at the ICCAC Showcase last weekend at Marshalltown Community College.
The two wins against Clinton and Marshalltown, and losses to No. 7-ranked Kirkwood and Ellsworth, left the Spartans tied for fourth place with Ellsworth in the ICCAC Division II standings at 5-4.
The Spartans, 23-16 overall, open regional tournament play at Ellsworth on Tuesday night. Ellsworth serves as host with its head-to-head win over SWCC determining “true” fourth and fifth places, coach Melissa Blessington said.
Nonetheless, it’s been a season of revitalization for the freshman-oriented squad.
“I know our girls are excited to play them again and I know we will put a strong effort against them,” Blessington said. “Overall, I am pleased with our regular season effort. We went from 10th in the conference to tied for fourth this year. Our (total) wins went from 10 to 22 so far. I know this is a tribute to how hard the girls have worked this year, and they really want to make a push in the postseason.”
In Friday’s action at Marshalltown, SWCC rolled past winless Clinton 25-18, 25-15, 25-7. Mel Mangrum had 10 kills. Lily Lower had nine kills and served 18-18 with an ace.
Nationally ranked Kirkwood swept the Spartans 25-15, 25-15, 25-18, but Ashley Strong played some great defense with 19 digs and served 9-9 with an ace. Lower again served strong at 16-16.
“We came up short, but we did a lot of good things in this match,” Blessington said.
SWCC’s middle hitters controlled the action Saturday in a 28-26, 25-12, 25-19 win over Marshalltown. Mangrum and Lower each had 11 kills and combined for five blocks. Molly Schimp placed the ball well as setter with 38 assists.
Mariah Kruse had great defensive numbers against Ellsworth (19 digs) in reading the hitters well, but the Spartan attack had trouble terminating the ball. Ellsworth prevailed 25-13, 23-25, 25-18, 25-19.
ICCAC standings (overall) — Iowa Central 9-0 (32-10), Kirkwood 8-1 (35-8), DMACC 7-2 (30-7), Ellsworth 5-4 (22-16), Southwestern 5-4 (23-16), Iowa Lakes 4-5 (13-29), NIACC 3-6 (11-26), Marshalltown 3-6 (14-24), Southeastern 1-8 (7-32), Clinton 0-9 (0-21).