Iowa City West and Dubuque Hempstead Win 3-1
CEDAR RAPIDS — Old Establishment wore down Up And Comer, but not without some early resistance.
Iowa City West delivered 11 of its 16 aces in the final game and finally solved Amanda Ollinger in a four-set MVC Mississippi Division volleyball win Tuesday night at Cedar Rapids Jefferson.
Scores were 23-25, 25-21, 25-18 and 25-6.
“Jefferson came in confident, and you can’t beat confidence,” said West Coach Kathy Bresnahan. “That’s a team that’s starting to believe in its ability. As the match went on, I thought we started to play better, and that confidence decreased a little bit.”
West (5-4 overall, 2-0 division) has been a state power for years, and is just two years removed from back-to-back state championships. Jefferson, on the other hand, has been an MVC bottom-feeder recently, but appears poised to climb under first-year coach Mary Kay Van Oort. The J-Hawks (4-3, 1-1) already have matched their win total from a year ago.
“We’re definitely making progress,” said Ollinger, a sophomore who led all attackers with 26 kills. “This is just the beginning.”
Ollinger had 17 kills in the first two sets, regularly hitting cross-court. The Women of Troy eventually adjusted, and dominated the rest of the way.
“We was hitting short and cross,” said West’s Laynie Whitehead, who sets and hits with equal effectiveness. “She was beating us. We made some adjustments and covered the middle better.”
West scored seven straight points in the third set for a 15-4 lead and was never threatened. Game 4 was, plain and simple, a serving blitz.
Leah Best came off the bench for the first time, with West leading 8-4, and delivered five aces in a row. She had six in an eight-point spree that made it 16-4.
Jefferson scored the next two points before Mikaela Morgan served it out.
“We expect our passing to be a strength, and it let us down late,” Van Oort said. “But we were down in a hole, and it was hot. It couldn’t have been pleasant out there.”
The Jefferson gym felt the effects of Tuesday’s 90-plus-degree heat. There were giant fans that moved the hot air, but the players were drenched before the match began.
Jefferson Athletics Director Chris Deam said he considered postponing the match, but the J-Hawks talked him out of it.
“We wanted to play,” Ollinger said. “We figure, we practice in the heat every day; why not play in it?”
A 6-foot-1 sophomore, Ollinger dominated the net early. She had three kills and a block in a 10-point run that put the J-Hawks in front, 17-9. West crept within a point twice at 23-22 and 24-23 before Makenzie Tompkins’ kill closed it out.
The second set was tied at 11-11 before the Women of Troy scored four straight to gain an edge they wouldn’t surrender.
Whitehead collected 12 kills and 14 assists to lead West. Mollie Mason added eight kills.
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