Iowa Western never got closer than four points in the game. Sophomore Shelby Lauterbach helped clinch the 25-17 win, drilling three consecutive kills as IHCC won the final four points of the game.
“They (Iowa Western) are one of the top-10 teams in the nation. The fact that we could compete at their level, keep up with them and even beat them in just one game really helps us a lot,” Lauterbach said of the Warriors’ improved play.
The start of the pivotal third game could have provided IHCC with a chance to continue building on the moment gained from the game two win. Instead, Iowa Western rose to the challenge issued to them by their young, first-year head coach winning several pivotal points as the Reivers suddenly couldn’t lose a critical point while the Warriors suddenly couldn’t buy one.
Iowa Western lead in game three grew to as large as 23-5. Calvineka Lockhart’s kill ended a late charge by IHCC to end a 25-11 game-three win for the Reivers.
“After that second set, I told the girls we had to get focused and get engaged. It was on us,” Williams said. “Once the girls finally got some momentum in the third game, it seemed to carry over to the fourth.”
The Reivers continued winning close points and continued to spread open an early lead in game four, opening up a 12-3 advantage that appeared as though it would knock IHCC out early in the clincher. Instead, the Warriors showed great heart and turned the final game into a back-and-forth dogfight, even closing the deficit to 21-17 while finding Lauterbach for several of her team-best 14 kills.
“Sometimes we just play a mental game with ourselves. We don’t attack the net as hard as we should,” Lauterbach said. “We’ve already improved on that a lot more on that in the past week and the good news is, we still have a lot more weeks ahead to continue to improve.”