Tritons turn tables on MCC
No. 14 Iowa Central netters top Tigers in 4
Despite those odds, MCC played a tough and gritty match, though it did eventually fall in four sets, 25-22, 19-25, 27-25, 25-7.
Tigers head coach Justin Hoskins said his girls had troubles with consistency in the match, fluctuating from playing well enough to take the victory to not playing well at all.
“When we played well tonight, we played really well, and when we played poorly, we played very poorly,” he said. “That’s something we continue to work on with this group, being so young we work on getting a little bit more mature. How do we find a way to play well even when we are not clicking 100 percent? How do we play not to beat ourselves on those points and how do we find a way when things are going poorly that somebody steps up and says ‘give me the ball, I’m going to score a point,’ and we get that going?”
Nothing emulates that fluctuation more than the third set, as the Tigers at one point had as much as a six-point cushion until late in the set when Iowa Central made a run and tied things up at 21-all. Still, MCC continued to battle and took a 25-24 lead, one point from taking a 2-1 set lead, but a serve in the net by the Tigers tied things up at 25 and two points later the Tritons completed their comeback.
Iowa Central head coach Sara Horn said her team’s ability to fight back and take the third set was huge for the girls to flip the tables and eventually win in the fourth.
“Obviously it is a lot different had we gone into the fourth down two sets to one, so that gave us confidence to be more aggressive and try new things, be more aggressive offensively,” Horn said. “That comeback was huge, and I don’t even remember what sparked it, but give credit to our girls for digging deep and making adjustments and getting it done.”
Iowa Central would go on to dominate the fourth set, winning 25-7 propelled by runs of seven and nine points. Hoskins said that inability to stop the bleeding on those long runs comes back to the fact that all of his athletes are freshmen this season.
“We gave up something like a 35-12 run to close out the third set and into the fourth,” he said. “That’s something where you just can’t win matches that way. We tried to stop it early, but it didn’t work, and I feel like that’s something where it comes back to our maturity. We have to find a way to slow down the game a little bit, calm ourselves down and get onto the next point.”
While they didn’t come out with the win, the Tigers did stand toe-to-toe with one of the top teams in the country and had them on the ropes, only to let them back in. Every member of the MCC team had a hand in the success they experienced on the court, and Hoskins said that’s the way his team is going to win games.
“We are a team that has to be balanced, we don’t have one girl who is going to carry us,” he said. “We need to be a team that gets production from all five hitters, if we don’t get that and have someone having an off game, that’s where you see us struggle a bit. When we have everybody playing an average game for them, we are in good shape, and if we have everybody playing a good game, we are really tough to beat.”
After starting the year at 7-0, the Tigers have dropped five of their last six games. Hoskins said the start of his team’s schedule was set up to give his girls some confidence, but now that they are getting into the meat of the year they have to figure out how to compete against tougher teams.
“I don’t think we understood the level that we were going to have to play at to beat the good teams we play in both divisions of our conference,” Hoskins said. “We are starting to understand that now, that weekend down in Norfolk really woke us up and we played a lot better tonight than we did down there. Hopefully we continue coming into practice and get a little better each day and by the end of the season I feel like these are teams we match up with very well and we should go into them feeling good about our chances to come out with a win.”