Spartans shut down Southeastern attack
|Southwestern freshman setter Cassidy Yong (14) sets one of her 30 assists in a 3-0 sweep of Southeastern Community College here on Wednesday, as teammate Alex Duffy (11) prepares to attack at the net. (CNA photo by SCOTT VICKER)|
The Southwestern Community College volleyball team dominated Southeastern in a 25-13, 25-21, 25-12 win here Wednesday.
The win improves the Spartans to 20-8 for the season and 5-2 in the ICCAC, moving them into a tie for third place in the conference with Iowa Central. Fourth-ranked Kirkwood is 7-1, while 19th-ranked DMACC is 6-1.
Southeastern, which received votes in the latest national poll, falls into fifth place at 5-3.
“Southeastern’s a really good team,” Spartan head coach Melissa Blessington said. “They’ve beaten a lot of nationally ranked teams this year. They were ranked nationally for a while, and they received votes this week, so beating that team is great for us, just because they do have a good squad.”
Southeastern freshman outside hitter Mattie Gray entered Wednesday’s match leading the nation in kills. Blessington said her team really concentrated on trying to shut Gray down.
“That was our main objective tonight, was to shut her down,” Blessington said. “And I think we did that. We had great blocking tonight.”
Alex Duffy led the Spartans with four blocks, as Mel Mangrum, Jenna Casey and Allyson Kocour each ended the match with three blocks.
Gray was held to single digits in kills.
The Spartans took command early by taking game one 25-13. Southwestern took a commanding 18-8 lead when Cassidy Yong scored on a quick dump over the net.
A slow start to game two saw the Spartans fall behind 9-5, as Blessington called a timeout.
Coming out of the timeout, Southwestern battled back to tie it at 9-9, thanks to a pair of tips over the net by Mangrum.
Aside from the 9-5 start to game two, the Blackhawks never seemed to be able to get into an offensive rhythm, as Southwestern played solid defense and used a varied attack to keep Southeastern off balance.
Molly Schimp led the Spartans with 17 digs and Janaya Fox finished with 12.
“We’ve been in a good rhythm,” Blessington said. “And that’s what we preach — get teams out of rhythm. Volleyball is just a game of rhythm. When you can get teams out of it, you can make runs.”
Serving also played a key role in Southwestern’s ability to keep the Blackhawks off balance.
Ashley Strong led the Spartans in that category, serving 21-of-22 with two aces.
“I would say the big thing was our serving,” Blessington said. “Even though it doesn’t look like we had a lot of aces, Ashley Strong and Cassidy and Allyson all did a great job putting the ball in places we needed them to disrupt their offense.”
After Southeastern took a brief 7-6 lead in game three, it was all Southwestern down the stretch, as a Casey block and several points by Duffy fueled an eight-point Spartan run to make it 14-7.
Southeastern made it 14-9, but the Spartans outscored the Blackhawks 11-3 from that point forward to win in dominant fashion.
“It makes it worthwhile when we play teams like Iowa Western, who we know are good,” Blessington said about the win. “That’s what gets us to the point where we can play teams that are our equal in the conference and have outcomes like this. That’s why we play the schedule that we play. For us, this is a stepping stone.”
Duffy led the Spartans with nine kills. Kocour added seven, while Casey and Mangrum each finished with six kills. Cassidy Yong set 30 assists.
“Honestly, our whole team stood out,” Blessington said. “They executed. It’s hard to pick out any one person who did anything specifically well, because everybody did exactly what they were supposed to do, and that’s all I can ask of them.”
Southwestern returns to action Friday at the DMACC Invitational in Boone. The tournament runs Friday and Saturday. The Spartans return home Monday against Grand View’s JV team.
SWCC 3, Southeastern 0
Attacks (kills) — Alex Duffy 9, Allyson Kocour 7, Jenna Casey 6, Mel Mangrum 6.
Blocks — Duffy 4, Mangrum 3, Casey 3, Kocour 3.
Serving (aces) — Ashley Strong 21-22 (2).
Setting (assists) — Cassidy Yong 30.
Digs — Molly Schimp 17, Janaya Fox 12, Strong 9, Serena Yong 9.