Tigers tripped up at home

MCC volleyball team suffers second-straight home loss to Southeastern

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown Community College’s Tiana Bolar, an East Marshall graduate, slips a spike past Southeastern Community College’s Kenadi Schulte during the Tiger volleyball team’s three-set loss to the Blackhawks on Monday night.

On Sunday, the Marshalltown Community College volleyball team was able to go on the road and win a pair of games over Ellsworth Community College and Dakota County Technical College, but in the matches the Tigers lost Alex Wilmore to an injury and that came back to bite them Monday.

MCC only had eight active girls on the roster when it faced Southeastern Community College Monday night, leading to a loss in straight sets, 25-23, 25-20, 25-9.

Tigers head coach Justin Hoskins said his girls faced quite a bit of adversity in the match, but to their credit the team isn’t pointing to that adversity as the reason for their defeat.

“We could sit here and make every excuse today. We had a girl get a tooth extracted this morning, we had a second girl miss most her classes with a migraine and we had a third girl sitting out,” Hoskins said after the loss. “We could have sat there and listed off excuses, but the good thing about this group is we didn’t. We put together a new lineup at 3:30 this afternoon, then we came out and competed.”

The first set was a back-and-forth affair, with neither MCC (10-6) nor the Blackhawks (9-8) gaining much ground on the either side. Southeastern would eventually pull away for the two-point win after the set was tied at 23-all, but the Tigers still had some positives to work with.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown Community College middle hitter Kaci Allgood (10) goes up for a kill against Kilie Akers (5) and Mariah Cook (7) from Southeastern Community College during the Tigers’ home loss to the Blackhawks on Monday.

In the second set, MCC jumped out to an early three-point advantage, but Southeastern went on a run to take a 16-11 lead and maintained the five-point spread through the end of the set.

After the break between the second and third set, the Blackhawks jumped all over the Tigers, starting off hot and forcing Hoskins to take two early timeouts before conceding the 25-9 loss.

Southeastern head coach James Rogers said he was actually surprised by the ease with which his girls closed out the game in the third.

“To be honest with you, we thought Marshalltown would put up a bigger fight,” he said. “They are known for fighting in the end, but they are a young team too. We had this mentality where we have to keep our heads on straight because they are a fighting team.”

Hoskins said with his girls running off a brand new lineup that they had never practiced before, it was hard to adjust throughout the game.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • MCC middle hitter Darrien Nelson (3) sends the ball over the net against Southeastern’s Kike Akers (5) during the Blackhawks sweep of the Tigers in Marshalltown on Monday.

“Having to make that new lineup, we had kind of spent ourselves mentally already,” he said. “There weren’t really any adjustments we could make and once we caught on to what areas they could exploit they were able to do so, and that’s the story of the day.”

Kaci Allgood finished as the lead attacker for the Tigers with 10 kills, while Jesenia Colbert had eight kills and filled in on the back row more than she normally did. Setter Jelena Dukic had one of her better games on the attacking end, recording five kills in the match through some tough defensive play and nifty moves to send the ball over the net herself.

Hoskins said he liked what he saw offensively from his Serbian setter, but her involvement in kills was more a product of the new lineup than something they are looking to add for the future.

“With the new lineup we had to put in at 3:30, she was asked to do some different things, like instead of running her off the right side we ran her in the middle,” Hoskins said. “That really kind of messes with some of her transitions, so while we want her to be active offensively, a lot of tonight’s was more out of desperation. That’s something that moving forward, if we end up running this lineup for an extended time, she will get more used to and be able to get our hitters more involved.”

As a whole, Hoskins said the team didn’t play badly in the loss, but what they need to develop is a couple of girls who can pick up the slack when they are facing adversity.

“We didn’t have anybody play their best game, and unfortunately that’s what we are going to need at times,” he said. “We had everybody play a decent game, but at the end of the day we need one or two girls to step up and carry the team at times and we weren’t able to do so tonight.”

Though they have some nagging injuries and other ailments plaguing the roster, the Tigers don’t get a break from their grueling schedule any time soon. MCC travels to Iowa Lakes Community College on Wednesday night before returning home to play North Iowa Community College on Friday.

Hoskins said the nature of the college game doesn’t allow for much downtime between games, so his girls need to figure out how to come up with victories while overcoming some steep odds.

“That’s the thing about volleyball season, the reality is we are never going to be healthy again,” he said. “We are healthy on August 1st and come this time we are hoping to get through. Some of that is, with our girls being so young, kind of understanding the college season is an absolute grind. We are going to be averaging three or four matches a week, so you have to find a way to win.

“Even when we aren’t feeling the best or even when we aren’t playing the greatest, you’ve got to find a way to be mentally tough and grind through that.”