It took a few points for the Southwestern Community College volleyball team to get going here Wednesday, but once things started clicking, the Spartans breezed through a tough competitor in Iowa Central.
The Spartans swept the Tritons, which received votes in the latest national poll, 25-23, 25-12, 25-17.
“A big win,” Southwestern head coach Melissa Blessington said. “They’ve been to nationals two years in a row, so we knew they had a great team. We knew we just had to come in and I said at the beginning of the match, if we take care of our side, what they do on their side, we’ll be fine.”
Blessington said the level of competition Southwestern saw over the weekend at the Marshalltown Invitational helped prepare the Spartans to take on Iowa Central, which came into Wednesday’s ICCAC matchup with a 2-0 mark in the conference. The Tritons dropped to 8-7 overall and 2-1 in the conference with the loss.
Southwestern, meanwhile, improves to 14-7 for the season and draws to .500 in the ICCAC at 2-2.
Iowa Central held an 8-7 lead in the first set after an ace serve by Kaila Hurley, but Southwestern responded with seven straight points, fueled by two kills and a block by Alex Duffy.
The two teams traded the next four points, as Duffy recorded another kill and another block to put the Spartans up 16-10.
“We kind of always start out a little slow, because I think we’re trying to feel out the other team,” Blessington said. “I think as soon as we realize we have an edge on someone in a certain area, our girls just go after it. I can’t be more pleased with how we played tonight, because Iowa Central is such a good team.”
Mel Mangrum got a kill and a block to inch the Spartans closer to game point, and Allyson Kocour emphatically put the first game away with a thunderous kill — one of her team-high nine.
Southwestern controlled the second game right from the very beginning, bolting to an 8-3 lead and then stretching the lead to 14-4. A Mel Mangrum kill put the Spartans in front 22-11 and Mangrum teamed with Kocour for a block to make the score 24-12 before the Spartans put the set away at 25-12.
The third game went back and forth until Molly Schimp served the final six points of the match, including an ace to set up match point. Duffy once again came up big, terminating back-to-back points to give the Spartans a 23-17 lead.
Janaya Fox played well for the Spartans in the back row, Blessington said.
“Janaya Fox has come in,” Blessington said. “She played front row for us this weekend and did fantastic. And we’re looking to bring her in the front row, but she’s a fantastic passer. They kept serving her — I don’t know why they kept serving her — and she kept passing nails. She’s such a consistent player. Having her back has just made our team that much better. It gives Shelby Sullivan the opportunity to really focus on the front row, which she did fantastic at tonight.”
Southwestern returns to action Tuesday at Indian Hills and travels to Northeast Nebraska next Wednesday.
SWCC 3, Iowa Central 0
Attacks (kills) — Allyson Kocour 9, Mel Mangrum 7, Alex Duffy 6, Shelby Sullivan 5, Jenna Casey 4.
Blocks — Mangrum 4, Duffy 3, Kocour 3.
Serving (aces) — Molly Schimp 16-17 (2), Ashley Strong 15-16 (2), Duffy 12-13 (1), Janaya Fox 9-10 (2), Kocour 4-4 (1).
Setting (assists) — Cassidy Yong 28.
Digs — Schimp 14, Strong 10, Cassidy Yong 8, Serena Yong 7, Fox 7.