The 15th-ranked (NJCAA, Div. II) Iowa Central volleyball team finally was able to showcase their skills in front of a home crowd Tuesday night.
Behind the stellar play of sophomores Alicia Moreno, Brittany Vaske and Nadia Morneau, the Tritons defeated No. 12 Des Moines Area in four games.
Scores were 25-23, 25-14, 22-25 and 25-21.
After competing for over a month on the road, Iowa Central (18-8 overall, 3-0 in ICCAC) debuted new head coach Fredrick Wagner on "Jam-the-Gym" night. Wagner took over for Bryan Crawford during the offseason.
"We were expecting a great atmosphere, and we received a great atmosphere," said Wagner, who has coached at every level including Div. I with Campbell University and the University of Central Florida. "People started coming up to me about three weeks ago asking when we were going to have a home match. The girls played with some nerves in the first, but they settled down and we passed the ball great."
Moreno recorded 17 kills on the night, including six in the second. Morneau, the emotional leader of the team, and Vaske each recorded 10 kills.
"I thought Marilyn Gutierrez had a great night, really setting our middle up," Wagner said. "Alicia was able to get some big points during rallies, and overall, I was just really pleased with the effort."
After cruising to a 2-0 lead, the extended intermission allowed the Bears (15-6, 2-1) to regroup, as DMACC took advantage of several mistakes by the Tritons.
"That break has been part of the game for as long as I can remember," Wagner said. "But credit DMACC, because they came out and really got after it. We need to do a better job of limiting our mistakes and working past them."
The Bears, who finished fourth in the league last year after not placing lower than second for six seasons, were unable to keep the momentum going in the fourth. DMACC is coached by Patty Harrison, who helped start the program at Iowa Central back in 1983.
Sheila Menezes led the Bears with 15 kills, while Hallie Mueth added 12 for DMACC.
The Tritons return to action this Friday and Saturday at the Iowa Western Tournament in Council Bluffs. Iowa Central is back at Hodges Fieldhouse on Oct. 8 vs. Ellsworth (15-10, 2-1).