The Marshalltown Community College volleyball team can play with anyone in the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference in spurts.
Tiger coach Chris Brees wants those spurts to turn into consistent runs and streaks.
Unfortunately, the inconsistent play continued Wednesday as the Tigers dropped an ICCAC Division 2 match to Northeast 30-28, 25-20, 25-19.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Marshalltown Community College freshman Meghann Cole (7) tries to tip the ball past two blockers from Northeast during the Tigers’ loss at the Student Activity Center on Wednesday. It was the third time this season that MCC lost to the Hawks.
"We take way too many plays off," Brees said. "They play well but it's just when they want to play."
It was Northeast's third win over the Tigers this season. Both teams are now 3-5 in ICCAC play.
"I don't really know what it is," Northeast coach Amanda Schultze said. "We match up against each other well because we are similar teams I think. We are just fortunate to come here and get a win over a good team."
Schultze saw something early on that helped the Hawks gained an advantage. Nazya Thies' kill put Northeast up 2-0 in game one but it was where she placed the ball that caught Schultze's attention.
"I saw when she sent the ball down the line that there was a lot of open space so we just kept hitting to the lines and found some success," she said. "They eventually adjusted and we started mixing it up after that."
Brees agreed that Northeast took advantage of the line. But added that the plan coming into the match was to block the lines, but the Tigers failed to execute the gameplan.
"We were not supposed to let them hit the lines," Brees said. "We just didn't execute tonight. I called timeout to make sure they knew what we were doing but by the time we adjusted it was too late."
The opener was a marathon that featured 10 ties and neither squad grabbed more than a three-point advantage. The Tigers didn't take the lead until they scored three straight points to go up 17-15. Amanda Keane had two of her three kills during that stretch, but the Hawks came right back to tie it and then it went back-and-forth until Katelyn Yauslin smacked back-to-back kills to put the home team up 23-21.
Thies tied the set at 23-all and then gave the Hawks a lead at 25-24. She also tied it at 28-all later before a Brittany Sullivan kill and a net violation by the Tigers gave the visitors an early advantage.
"What I was really happy with tonight was that we stayed aggressive and kept coming after them," Schultze said.
The Hawks jumped out to a 5-1 lead in game two. The only point not scored by error or violation though was a Kirsten Fink block.
The Tigers were whistled for a few two-touch violations on set attempts and also gave away a point with a service error.
"I am not sure what she was doing wrong," Brees said of the two-touch violations. "When we asked the official, all he said was that we couldn't argue because it was a judgement call. I wanted an explanation so she could correct it, but it looked to me like our setter was doing the same thing their setter was doing. And we haven't been called for that many violations all season."
The Tigers rallied to get within 8-5 but never really got their footing throughout the game. The Hawks scored three points to every one for MCC during a stretch that saw Northeast push its lead from 8-5 to 18-9.
Yauslin, the Tigers' most consistent hitter Wednesday, kept MCC (18-16, 3-5) in the game with two more kills to cut the Hawks' lead to 19-15. Two more violations and a Grace Ecklund kill extended Northeast's lead to 22-15 though and the Tigers never got any closer than four the rest of the way.
Yauslin finished with a team-high 12 kills for the Tigers, while Ecklund was one of three Hawks to record six kills in the win. Thies led the way with 16 kills and 14 digs.
The Tigers once again played from behind in the final game. Northeast turned a 3-all tie into a 7-4 advantage thanks to strong net play from Ecklund and Sullivan. The Hawks stayed out in front until a Miranda Smith kill tied the game at 13 and then again at 14.
After that though Northeast rolled of six straight points to take command of the frame.
The officials called Northeast for a two-touch violation and Tiger freshman Meghann Cole added consecutive kills to trim the MCC deficit to 20-18, but the Hawks scored five of the next six points to win easily.
Sullivan and Fink also had six kills for the Hawks and Sullivan had a team-high 19 digs. Maggie Earney delivered 34 assists in the win, too.
Ashley Salgado, another Tiger who played well Wednesday, finished with 16 digs as she returned from injury, while freshman setter Sam Hinrichs dished out 21 assists, compiled 15 digs and was 10-for-11 from behind the service line. Alyssa Whitmore was 13-for-14 in serves and had one of the Tigers' two aces.