It's been somewhat of a struggle for the Iowa Central women's volleyball team to find their groove, but Thursday night that all turned around.
The Tritons (5-10 overall, 3-0 in the region) put together their best match of the season for an intense five-game triumph over Marshalltown Community College.
''We are coming together and playing at the highest level we've played at all
—Messenger photo by Dana Recker
Alison Husman slams the ball for the Tritons Thursday night in Hodges Fieldhouse.
year,'' said Triton head coach April Elsbrend.
In each of the first two games it was all Iowa Central as the Tritons picked up wins of 25-17 and 25-23. The next two sets, though, went the other way as the Tigers easily won game three 25-12 and then won the fourth 25-21 to set up the deciding fifth game.
''We really controlled the first two games, but they adjusted well to what we were doing and made plays to win those next two,'' said Elsbrend.
The Tritons jumped out to big a 6-2 lead in the final game capped off by a Jenna Nemitz kill before the Tigers answered back to get within one. A six point outburst by the Tritons gave them an 11-5 lead though and the game seemed at hand before the Tigers came clawing back.
The Triton lead dwindled to 11-9 before yet another mini run making it 14-10 and match point.
Three straight Tiger points closed the gap again putting the score at 14-13 before Nemitz pounded home the game winning point after a long volley.
Nemitz ended the contest with 22 digs and 15 kills to pace the Tritons.
''That fifth game was all emotion,'' said Iowa Central head coach April Elsbrend. "We weren't going to lose and to have Jenna cap it off after making a few mistakes was very nice to see.
''Jenna was great on offense and defense all night. She was in the right spots and is just a great athlete.''
In the first two games the sophomore duo of Becka Black and Jenn Pieper was firing on all cylinders.
Pieper put away a team high 16 kills with five blocks and Black dished out 48 assists and racked up 16 digs.
''Jenn has been seeing the court well and hitting it high and deep. She works hard and she and Becka have very good chemistry,'' said Elsbrend. ''Becka ran the offense well and distributed the ball very evenly which is key. She's getting more and more comfortable and it shows.''
Elsbrend also pointed out the effort of sophomore libero Lyndy Armstrong.
Armstrong made highlight reel digs all night and had two huge aces in the fifth game as well to help lead the Tritons.
''Lyndy was all over the place. She had some big digs and served very aggressive and well under pressure. She took control of the back row and that really helped us out defensively,'' said Elsbrend.
The Tritons are back in action Wednesday as they travel to Creston to take on Southwestern.
Nemitz and Pieper were both awarded from their previous efforts as Nemitz was awarded athlete of the week and Pieper was scholar athlete of the week.
Contact Eric Niesen at (515) 573-2141 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org