JUCO volleyball: Another winning weekend for Warrior spikers

·5 min read

Aug. 28—OTTUMWA — After knocking another highly-rated rival on Friday to open the Odessa College Invitational, the 19th-ranked Indian Hills volleyball team bounced back after suffering its first loss of the 2022 season on Saturday. Indian Hills finished a winning weekend in Texas with a sweep of New Mexico Junior College, quickly shaking off a loss to 11th-ranked Salt Lake earlier in the day.

Indian Hills moves to 8-1 on the year after going 3-1 on the weekend in Texas. The Warriors defeated second-ranked New Mexico Military Institute and tournament host Odessa College on Friday.

The Warriors fell behind early against New Mexico Military, the defending national runners-up from a year ago, after dropping the opening two sets. Indian Hills rallied, sweeping the Broncos over the final three frames for one of the biggest victories in program history. The Warriors won by set scores of 21-25, 19-25, 26-24, 25-13 and 15-7.

Indian Hills followed up in the nightcap against the Wranglers of Odessa who entered the match undefeated at 7-0. The Warriors handled the tournament hosts with ease, sweeping Odessa 25-14, 25-20 and 25-15.

"This team is capable of all the things when we show up with fire form the start," stated head coach Lyndsey Michel. "Our defense and serve receive on our first touches were near flawless after our first two sets."

The Warriors opened up action at the Odessa Invite with a lead midway through the first set over New Mexico Military. With Indian Hills leading 16-14, the Broncos responded and took the opening frame before jumping out to a big lead in set two to put Indian Hills in a 2-0 deficit.

Indian Hills regrouped before the opening tip of the third set and built a marginal 12-6 lead. The Broncos answered and eventually took a 20-19 lead, but the Warriors prevailed as Larissa Barreiros Scatamburlo put home the game-winner to keep Indian Hills alive.

The Warriors carried that momentum into the fourth set and kept its distance throughout the frame for the 25-13 victory. The Warriors committed just one attack error in the final set and rolled past the Broncos for the thrilling come-from-behind victory.

The win over the Broncos was the first over a top-two nationally ranked program since the Warriors knocked off then-No. 1 nationally ranked Tyler Junior College in five sets on Oct. 3, 2015. Current Indian Hills assistant volleyball coach Sarah Ryder was a member of that year's squad and led the team with 19 digs in the upset win.

Scatamburlo, the nation's kills leader entering the weekend, posted a team-high 18 finishers to pace the offense. Hennesys Lalane continued to create opportunities at the net and distributed a team-high 46 assists. Sasha Vidal totaled 34 digs to add on to her nation-leading total on the year.

"Hennesys showed out," Michel noted. "She took charge of the day when we were down two sets and never looked back."

Sophomore Erica Calderon Rosario posted nine total blocks in the win and now leads the nation by a wide margin with 41 blocks on the year.

"Erika is a mad blocker," stated Michel. "She has really stepped up her blocking game this past offseason. We always knew she could score, but has put both offense and defense together for us early on."

The Warriors had little trouble with Odessa despite the Wranglers entering the match at 7-0, including two straight wins to open this weekend's tournament. Sophomore Jenna Vallée posted a team-high 12 kills and added a pair of service aces. Scatamburlo added 10 kills for her sixth double-digit total in seven matches this year.

"We depend a lot on Larissa, but once we have people worried about her, everything else opens wide up and everyone is pretty unstoppable," Michel added.

Lalane added 32 assists in the win along with eight kills and no errors in nine total attempts.

The Warriors fell behind early against Salt Lake before rallying for a late 19-17 advantage. The Bruins bounced back and forced a timeout with the set all-square at 23 before taking the final two points and the opening set from the Warriors, 25-23.

Set two proved to be a back-and-forth battle as neither side led by more than one before Salt Lake began to pull away down the stretch. The Warriors scored three straight points to pull within three, 22-19, only to see Salt Lake hold off the opposition for a 25-20 win.

Salt Lake jumped out to a big lead early in the third set before Indian Hills put together a quick spurt of its own to keep the set close. The Warriors eventually took a brief lead, but the Bruins responded and held on for the sweep with a 25-23 victory.

Vallée led the offense with 12 kills on 35 attempts for the Warriors. Lalane posted 30 asssists while Vidal tallies 23 digs.

The Warriors made quick work of New Mexico in the team's final match of the weekend. Indian Hills dropped the Thunderbirds in straight sets 25-16, 25-19 and 26-24. The sweep is the third of the year for the Warriors.

Kinga Michalska wrapped up a strong weekend for the Warriors with a team-high 13 kills in the win over New Mexico. Lalane once again proved to be efficient all around for Indian Hills as the sophomore posted 36 assists and four kills with zero attacking errors, the sixth time overall and fifth consecutive match that Lalane has posted multiple kills without an error.

Haleigh Hadley posted five kills and a team-high .714 hitting percentage. Vidal totaled 21 digs in the victory.

Indian Hills was back home on Monday night hosting DMACC as the Courier went to press. The Warriors will also be at home on Wednesday night to host Carl Sandburg College at the Hellyer Student Life Center starting at 6 p.m.

"This is a fun team to watch," Michel added. "We hope our fans can come watch us at the Hellyer Center this week."