The Marshalltown Community College volleyball team will have to settle for now with being a work in progress.
Don't expect the Tigers to settle for long, though.
Kirkwood's aggressive serving and consistent attack did enough to prevent MCC from getting its own capable offense going, putting the host Tigers on the short side of a 3-0 sweep in an ICCAC match Wednesday at the Student Activity Center, 25-15, 25-13, 25-16.
T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE
Kirkwood Community College’s Kaylee Schulte (8) defends as Marshalltown Community College freshman Leisha Box, center, goes up for the attack with teammates Liz Honke, right, and Lauren Lockhart, left, covering. The visiting Kirkwood Eagles improved to 4-0 with a three-game sweep of MCC on Wednesday night.
The home opener for Marshalltown was not what head coach Jackie Holland had envisioned, but she admitted to being able to see the bigger picture despite Wednesday's occasionally ugly glimpse.
"It's not about the beginning of the season, it's partially about the journey but also where we end up at the end of the year," Holland said, "and hopefully that's a long ways from where we are today."
Marshalltown proved its ability to dictate the pace of play in the early stages of the hour-long match, with the first 11 points being scored by the Tigers' doing. Seven of those, however, were errors of one sort or another by MCC.
Kirkwood earned its first point with Amber Pitz's ace to make it 8-4 in the opening set.
"I think that when we decide to play, we play very, very well, and I always like to be positive but we just need more good play," Holland said after watching her team dip to 0-5 this season. "In order to be successful playing at this level, we have to play a complete game all the time and not just part of it.
"We do all have to remember that they're young and they're freshmen and things will come together, it's still the beginning of the year."
Lauren Lockhart, a freshman middle hitter from Marshalltown, had six of her team-best eight kills in the first game. The only sustained run for the Tigers got them back to within 13-12 in that opening set.
Kirkwood (4-0, 1-0) broke it open, 18-12, by rattling off five straight points in the first game, and a six-point stretch served up by Ashley Goedken made it 24-14 Eagles.
The Eagles scored the first five points of game two, added a six-point run to go up 14-6, and took advantage of Marshalltown's fair share of unforced errors to make the second set the shortest of the match.
Another slow start for MCC made for an 8-1 hole for the Tigers to try to climb out of in the third set.
"In that aspect it does remind me of last year's team," Holland said of the slow starts, "but this year's team is not last year's team, not even close. There is so much talent amongst these individual ladies that once we gel, I think we'll be very, very tough.
"Things are clicking more all the time. ... As long as we're making steps forward, I think that is really what it's about and it's not always about the end score."
Jessie Timmins contributed six kills to MCC's final tally, while Maira Schaumburg and Erica Swanger-Weeks added two kills apiece. Box led MCC with four total blocks, and Schaumburg, Lockhart and Timmins each had one.
Libero player Liz Honke had a team-high 12 digs and Lockhart had 11, while Swanger-Weeks, Lizzy Gray and Brittany Clark added four apiece. Clark led the way with 10 assists and Timmins had five. Honke and Lockhart both had an ace.
Chanda Goedken and Kaylee Schulte led Kirkwood with eight kills apiece, JoAnna Forkner had four and Morgan Guge had three. Guge had a match-high three service aces.
"What I take away is we have a very resilient team," Holland said. "They weren't down on themselves a whole lot, they know what they need to do to make it better, and maybe we'll re-focus some things in practice and be able to move forward from here."
The Tigers take a full week off before hosting Indian Hills, an ICCAC Division I program, on Sept. 9.