By: The Messenger Sports Writer Dana Becker
Photos by: Britt Kudla
The 16th-ranked (NJCAA, Div. II) Iowa Central volleyball team continues to pick up win after win in the ICCAC despite seeing starters go down with injuries.
Wednesday night, the Tritons improved to 5-0 in the conference with a sweep over Southeastern, 25-14, 25-19 and 25-16 inside Hodges Fieldhouse.
Sophomore Gabby Sullivan recorded 14 kills and 10 digs, Lexi Green added four kills and seven blocks, and Libby Zorn had four kills and 3.5 blocks as Iowa Central (19-4 overall) won for the sixth time in its last eight matches.
"I thought we played really clean," ICCC head coach Sara Horn said. "We will be minus our libero this weekend (Michele O'Haver), so we had to get some confidence with new players in the backcourt."
The Tritons came out strong, recording 10 kills, five blocks and three aces in the first set. Sullivan, one of the top kills per set leaders in the nation, had five of those 10.
"Gabby is just a solid athlete," Horn said. "She had a great spring for us and we thought she could have a really good year like she is.
"She's a hard worker and a great leader that her teammates respect. Everybody likes to play with Gabby and everything about her is an attribute to why she is so successful."
Green and Zorn each picked up two kills in that opening set, with Fort Dodge Senior High grad Liza Hatcher recording two aces. Both of those came during a four-point rally that pushed the Iowa Central lead from two to six.
The Tritons finished the match with seven aces and 10 blocks, with Southeastern (10-11, 2-4) tallying five aces and just a single block. Paige Kammerer had four of those aces and Taylor Menzies led them with seven kills.
"Southeastern had an injury in its last match and I think that kind of played a role in how they came out," Horn said. "But I was proud of the way we played because we stayed focused and didn't play flat."
Iowa Central put together a seven-point rally midway through the second and had a 11-4 run in the third that provided more than enough cushion to finish the sweep.
Next up for Iowa Central is another packed tournament weekend as they play Kansas City-Kansas and Fort Scott on Friday, and meet No. 8 Cowley County and host Central (Neb.), who is ranked fifth, on Saturday.
"We just need to go out there with the confidence that we can beat anybody," Horn said. "I think that we believe that, but we need to do it on the court. And we can only do that by shaking off any bad points and moving on.
"If we do that, we can play with anybody."
Entering the night, only the Tritons and 14th-rated Kirkwood are unbeaten in ICCAC play. The Eagles, who host Iowa Central on Oct. 11, swept Iowa Lakes last night.