Tigers held in check by No. 2 Warriors

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING - Marshalltown Community College setter Yanelis Pena Turbi (9) battles for a free ball at the net against Jenna Vallée (15) of Indian Hills during Wednesday’s volleyball match at MCC.

For one set Wednesday night, the Marshalltown Community College volleyball team showed just how far it has come since the 2021 season — putting a scare into the No. 2 team in Division I junior college volleyball, Indian Hills CC.

An early 9-4 lead forced the Warriors to take a timeout and gave the Tigers a needed jolt after struggling to come close against most Iowa Community College Athletic Conference foes in the past two seasons.

The hope was short-lived, as MCC lost 3-0 to the Warriors (25-21, 25-12, 25-11) to fall to 11-9 overall on the season and 0-2 in ICCAC play. Indian Hills is now 26-1.

Head coach Chris Brees said the team has clearly improved and clearly has made strides, but when facing adversity there’s still a lot of room for growth.

“We’re not very good at playing through adversity,” Brees said. “When we’re winning, we’re winning. The problem we have as a team is that we let them string together three-to-five points. We play well until 12-12 or 15-15 in every match and then we let them put five points together and we can’t come back.

“It seems to be our MO this year. It’s something that we individually have to figure out.”

After going up 9-4 early, Indian Hills fought back with an 8-0 run to take back the lead — a lead they did not relinquish the rest of the night. MCC fought hard and made the Warriors sweat, but a 25-21 final score put the Warriors in total command.

A 6-1 run to start the second set only made the difference in caliber clearer, and Indian Hills set sail for a 25-12 second set victory.

MCC’s attack was dampened by a strong block from the Warriors but Katherine Acosta led the Tigers in kills with six, tied with Allinson Almonte. They were followed closely by Abby Redmond with five and Angeles Benacourt with four.

Brees has prided his team for their effort and ability to keep the ball in play as one of the top 20 teams in the NJCAA Division I in digs. Marshalltown had 42 tonight, but Brees said it was clear after the first set numbers dropped as heads dropped.

“We dug a lot of balls in game one, but I know we didn’t in game two and game three,” Brees said. “We have to know what we do well and not go away from it, and we started going away from it.”

Isenydy De La Rosa was the top digs-getter for MCC Wednesday with 10, followed by two players with eight — Redmond and Brittany Sichra. Almonte added six.

The third set went much like the second — Indian Hills jumped out to an 11-1 lead and put the match to bed before the set was over, cruising the rest of the way and consigning the Tigers to defeat.

It doesn’t get easier for the Tigers in the weeks ahead, particularly in ICCAC play. First, though, MCC heads off to the IA/MO Challenge on Saturday in Hillsboro, Missouri. The Tigers will play Missouri State University-West Plains and Mineral Area College.


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