WEST BURLINGTON - A narrow first game setback didn't dampen the Tigers spirits.
Instead, it sparked a fire and 3-1 upset as the Marshalltown Community College volleyball team rallied past Southeastern CC 24-26, 25-21, 25-21, 25-14 in an Iowa Community College Athletic Conference Division II match Wednesday.
Defeating the Blackhawks for the third straight time, the Tigers (22-17, 4-6) earned the No. 4 seed in the Region XI-B bracket and will face No. 1 seed Kirkwood on the road Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Southeastern CC received votes in the latest NJCAA Division II poll and has been among the national rankings seven of eight weeks - moving as high as No. 12. The Blackhawks also boasted the nation's top hitter Mattie Gray who entered the evening leading the nation in kills (696) and kills per set (5.80).
MCC wasn't intimidated.
"We executed our game plan perfectly tonight," said MCC coach Chris Brees. "We were able to shut down the number one hitter in the country with an unbelievable defensive effort at the net."
The Tigers tallied 13 blocks overall, their second highest total of the season. Reeba Box led the squad up front with three assisted blocks and Sam Hinrichs added one solo block and five block assists.
"Defensively, we played out of our minds tonight," said Brees. "Ashley Salgado came up huge for us."
Salgado came up with 35 digs, her highest tally in more than a month, and Alyssa Whitmore added 15 digs, while Hinrichs had 11. Hinrichs dished out 40 assists for her sixth career 40-assist effort.
Limited to a .035 hitting percentage in the first set, the Tigers rebounded with rates of .245, .317 and .229 in the final three games. Katelyn Yauslin had a team-best 12 kills and Meghann Cole recorded 11.
MCC closes the regular season with a pair of nonconference matches at Des Moines Area Community College Friday. The Tigers take on the Bears at 3 p.m. and Indian Hills Community College at 5 p.m.