If the Marshalltown Community College volleyball team wants to beat nationally ranked foes, it is going to have to play a lot more aggressively.
That is the message that MCC coach Chris Brees is telling his squad after a straight-set loss to NJCAA Div. II No. 9 Des Moines Area Community College on Wednesday.
The Tigers were competitive in just one of the three games against the Bears and dropped to 1-4 on the season following DMACC's 25-10, 25-22, 25-14 victory in MCC's home opener at the Student Activity Center.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Marshalltown Community College sophomore Mady Van Metre (10) had a team-high six kills for the Tigers during their loss to NJCAA Division II No. 9 DMACC on Wednesday. The Tigers are now 1-4 after the 25-10, 25-23, 25-14 defeat to the Bears.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Marshalltown Community College sophomore Riley Clark, left, dives to the floor to keep a ball in play in front of teammate Jena Boisen on Wednesday at the Student Activity Center.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
"If we continue to play passively we can expect these kind of results moving forward," said Brees. "We had too many players who wanted to let someone else make a play. We had too many players taking the safe play instead of being aggressive. We need more players to take ownership of the game."
Passive play may work against some teams. It won't against a nationally ranked opponent. And it wasn't near good enough to upset the Bears on Wednesday.
"You can't play that way against ranked teams," said Brees.
DMACC controlled the match from the start, dominating the opening set by jumping out to an early advantage and rolling from there. The Bears led 5-1 before pulling even further ahead with short runs of three or four points.
Leading 20-10, DMACC scored the game's final five points to take the game one win. Three of those tallies came off Tiger hitting errors.
"They did completely opposite of what we told them to do in that first game," said Brees. "That told me that there was a lack of focus from the start. We missed too many serves and our hitters weren't hitting the ball to the right angles."
The middle game was the most competitive. The Tigers scored the game's first two points and stayed in front during a back-and-forth affair that saw neither squad lead by more than two points.
That was until the Bears scored three straight to turn a one-point lead into a 12-8 advantage.
The Tigers wouldn't go away quietly though. A Jena Boisen ace was sandwiched between two Sam Hinrichs kills. But another 5-0 run for the Bears once again turned a narrow advantage into an 18-12 game.
Jade Rohach's block gave the Tigers some momentum and Mady Van Metre had consecutive kills to bring MCC closer. Kayla Prosser followed with an ace and three straight kills from Rohach, Hinrichs and Reeba Box pulled the Tigers within 23-22, but DMACC (5-1) got a kill from Taylor Case and another MCC error to win another game.
"We calmed down and had better passing but the second game came down to our five service errors," said Brees. "We played better but the runs we had ended because of mistakes on our part."
The final game had an early feel of game two but a late feel of game one.
MCC and DMACC went back-and-forth during the first 20 points as Rohach and Hinrichs continued to play well at the net.
Case provided DMACC with some punch early and then the Bears pulled away with runs of 6-0 and 3-0. The Tigers once led 9-7 but finished with just five of the final 23 points in the game-three loss.
"We just didn't have enough people step up and take charge," said Brees. "It's frustrating, but this was not a conference game so it won't make or break our season."
Van Metre and Hinrichs both had six kills to pace the MCC hitters, but Brees said that the Tigers never established the middle hitters and needed to get Prosser more swings.
"We didn't set Kayla the ball enough," said Brees. "(Van Metre) was off a little bit, but no one else picked her up. We have six hitters on this team and should be able to play through someone having an off night."
Box finished with four kills, while Rohach and Prosser each had three. Prosser also had a team-high 16 assists and four digs, while Hinrichs had seven assists and three digs. Box and Riley Clark each had a team-best seven digs, while Boisen and Van Metre each collected five.
In total, the Tigers had one more hitting error (24) than they had kills (23) in the loss.
The Tigers are back in action tonight at the Student Activity Center. They face Northeast at 7 p.m. The first Iowa Community College Athletic Conference Division I contest is Tuesday at undefeated Indian Hills. Prosser came into the match with a team-high 33 kills, 68 assists and nine aces. Van Metre took over the team lead in kills Wednesday and now has 38 on the season.