The only time Marshalltown Community College volleyball coach Chris Brees let his team know he was upset through the media was last week during the Tigers' first matchup with ICCAC rival North Iowa Area Community College.
The Tigers faced the
Trojans again Thursday night, and this time MCC delivered, dispatching NIACC in straight sets. The Tigers won the match 25-14, 25-11, 25-22, and improved to 7-16 on the season.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Tanya Literski, left, gets out of the way as MCC freshman Breanna Cortez passes the ball to a teammate during the Tigers’ three-set win over North Iowa Area Community College on Thursday at the Student Activity Center.
"The last time out against NIACC we didn't take advantage of the errors they made," Brees said about the five-set loss to the Trojans last week. "They would make an error and we would then give it back to them with another error. We let them make errors tonight and we just didn't make mistakes."
With only eight players on the roster, five-set games are hard to win. The Tigers made sure there wasn't even a fourth game Thursday at the Tiger Student Activities Center.
MCC, which is now 2-2 in conference play, jumped out to a fast start in the opening set, leading 8-1 behind three points from Mady Van Metre and two net violations by NIACC.
The lead then grew to 12-3 following three straight aces by Van Metre. The advantage grew to 15-5 as NIACC make two more errors and Sam Oujiri pounded out two kills.
A small run by the Tigers cut the MCC lead to seven, but that was as close as they would get with the Tigers winning the opener by 11.
"We stayed more disciplined tonight," said Brees in reference to his team's defense. "We were getting outside the blocks and seeing where they were hitting it. We let them bring the ball to us."
Another fast start in Game 2 allowed the Tigers to take a second big lead. MCC turned a 2-all tie into a five-point advantage with five straight tallies, including two serving aces by setter Tanya Literski. Breanna Cortez and Alyssa Whitmore each scored back-to-back kills and Van Metre served up an ace to make it 12-4 a few points later.
The Trojans continued to make hitting errors, and Van Metre recorded three more kills in the set to help MCC claim an easy win. Van Metre finished with a team-high 13 kills and four aces in the match.
"She has started basketball now so she is working through some tired legs," Brees said. "She didn't have one of her better games last night so it was good to see her play well again. She brought a much better game tonight."
The closest frame of the night was Game 3, and NIACC even held an eight-point advantage at 12-4.
The Tigers though had a one-point-at-a-time approach and found a way to get back into the set. Oujiri and Katelyn Yauslin triggered a run that got MCC back within three points. Oujiri started the rally with a kill and Yauslin turned in two kills along and eventually the Tigers only trailed 13-10.
The rest of the deficit was made up by more mistakes from NIACC as hitting errors and net violations haunted the Trojans the entire match.
Libero Ashley Salgado led the Tigers with 17 digs, but she also came through with an impressive service run that put MCC ahead in the final set. The Tigers trailed 15-12 but Salgado's service spurt totaled eight points and gave MCC a five-point advantage.
During the service run, Salgado served up an ace and Van Metre tallied three more kills.
"I had to remind them during a timeout about that taste in their mouth that was left after the loss against NIACC last week," Brees said. "I don't like to do that, but we played with some heart after that. And we showed a lot of character to pull it out."
The Tigers scored the final three points of the set and wound up with a 25-22 win in the third and final game of the night.
While the team relies heavily on strong net play by Van Metre and Yauslin, others stepped up Thursday and helped the Tigers lock up a crucial conference victory. Yauslin and Oujiri finished with six kills each and Literski added 31 assists. Salgado's 17 digs were paired with three aces.
"We had others step up tonight for us and that was good to see," Brees said. "Breanna Cortez doesn't get a lot of recognition for what she does, but gets to a lot of balls. She is very undersized for a right-side hitter, but I was pleased with her play tonight."
The match took a little more than one hour to complete. ... MCC was all over the court and forced several long rallies. And unlike in its loss Wednesday, the Tigers managed to win some of those long points. "We won a few of those points tonight, which was nice to see," Brees said. "We lost all of those rallies last night. We work too hard to lose them all." ... The Tigers next play at 7 p.m. Wednesday on the road against Ellsworth Community College. The next home game for MCC will be Oct. 17 against Southeastern. That match starts at 7 p.m. and it has been designated 'Dig Pink Night.'