It took a fifth and final set, but Southwestern Community College dispatched Iowa Lakes 22-25, 26-24, 21-25, 25-17, 15-6 to pick up its second conference win of the season on Breast Cancer Awareness Night.
The fifth set was the most decisive set of the match as the Spartans catapulted out to an 8-1 lead before changing ends of the floor.
Hannah Ryan and Kailey Miracky each put away two kills to then push SWCC out to an 11-5 edge.
Emily Williams placed in an ace before the Spartans clinched the win on a Lakers’ net violation.
“That was huge. We knew what the stakes were,” said SWCC head coach Casey Quiggle about the win.
After dropping the third set, SWCC bounced back in the fourth set, grabbing an early advantage after two big somersaulting digs from Lyann Mena Rodriguez ended with the Spartans gaining a 14-8 clip.
Mena Rodriguez ended the night with 18 digs and 16 assists.
Jentri Hullinger put together 11 kills in the win. Arguably the most crucial ones came late in the fourth set to force sideouts and keep SWCC’s lead around seven points.
Hullinger’s second to last kill in the contest came after a Spartan attack error in the point prior and gave SWCC a 22-15 edge.
“She’s been a pleasant surprise. She didn’t play at all her freshman year ... She’s one of our taller players and she’s got a great swing,” said Quiggle.
Though Southwestern dropped the following set, the second set win proved to be pivotal for the Spartans.
After dropping the first set and falling behind 16-11 in the second, SWCC reeled off five straight points as the run was capped by a Cayla Maitlen kill.
Maitlen finished with three kills and eight digs in the two sets she saw action.
Hullinger put away four kills in the second set, one giving SWCC a 24-22 lead in the second frame.
But the Spartans let the Lakers back into the set after an attacking error ended a long rally and tied things at 24-24.
Jada Perkins put the next point in SWCC’s column with one of her 10 kills and then Ryan clinched the set with a floater that clipped the top of the net and innocently fell to the Lakers’ side of the floor.
Perkins also had 19 digs in the win.
Southwestern continues to shuffle rotations as Ryan played the first two sets as libero before Mena Rodriguez took over those duties.
Quiggle tested Mena Rodriguez at setter, but feels more comfortable putting her at libero in the future, noting that it gives the Spartans more depth on the outside along with playing Mena Rodriguez in her natural position.
“We thought we would try it out ... but it’s taking Lyann out of that spot and its also takes an outside away from us,” said Quiggle.
Getting up to speed
The Spartans didn’t open the contest with much energy and quickly dug themselves an 8-1 hole to open play.
Southwestern also dropped the third set following a 10 minutes intermission as part of the Breast Cancer Awareness Night pink out events.
SWCC held a moment of silence for those affected and did a serving contest giving away pink out memorabilia.
Quiggle thought night’s events factored into the sluggish start.
“We set up the pink out night late on Monday and Tuesday and it’s emotional,” Quiggle said. “All of the girls and myself included have dealt with relatives passing and battling cancer.”
UP NEXT – Southwestern (13-17, 2-5 in ICCAC) ended a four-match losing streak with the win and will host Marshalltown (25-4, 0-3 in ICCAC Div. I) today.
Southwestern 3, Iowa Lakes 2
Serving (aces) — SWCC: Kailey Miracky 3, Hannah Ryan 2, Emily Williams 2, Cayla Maitlen 1.
Attacks (kills) — SWCC: Jada Perkins 26-34 (10), Kailey Miracky 18-24 (7), Jentri Hullinger 15-16 (11), Ryan 11-12 (5), Emily Williams 6-11 (2), Maitlen 9-11 (3), Taylor Miracle 5-6 (1), Danica Sunderman 6-6 (2), Chelsey Trautloff 3-3 (1), Ashley Porter 2-2 (1).
Blocks (solo, assists) — SWCC: Miracky (1,2), Perkins (1,0), Hullinger (1,0), Williams (0,1).
Setting (assists) — SWCC: Porter 17, Mena Rodriguez 16, Miracle 4, Miracky 1.
Digs — SWCC: Perkins 19, Mena Rodriguez 18, Ryan 16, Maitlen 8, Porter 7, Halee Wallace 6, Miracle 4, Sunderman 1, Hullinger 1.