By SCOTT JACKSON
Courier sports writer
---- — OTTUMWA — So far this season, those that have shown up to watch the Indian Hills volleyball team have seen plenty of action.
Entering Thursday night, the Warrior spikers had played 28 matches on the season. Less than half of those, 13, had ended with either IHCC or its opponent earning a sweep with the Warriors doing the sweeping just six times all year – all in road matches
That’s probably what made Thursday night seem so unique. Unlike all of the previous matches at the Tom Arnold Net Center, the Warriors didn’t have to worry about playing an extra hour or any extra games. A dominant 25-14, 25-20, 25-10 sweep of the Grand View JV squad in just 57 minutes gave IHCC fans a glimpse of just home good and just how dominant the Warriors can be at its best even if the best players weren’t able to go.
“We still have players dealing with injuries and we have players dealing with illnesses, so really needed something like this,” Indian Hills head volleyball coach Lyndsey Lyon said. “We were able to just keep going. It shows a lot that kids didn’t slip to a different level. It’s nice to have one of these kind of matches that be a momentum booster.”
“We had a tough night (Tuesday) at Iowa Western, but we just found a way to push through it,” sophomore Shelby Lauterbach added.
Lauterbach led the Warriors in a dominant night at the net, nailing nine of IHCC’s 32 kills in the three-game sweep with a successful 19-21 hitting attack. Unlike many of their matches, including all their previous home contests, the Indian Hills spikers started strong and set a tone early that there would be no upset by the Vikings.
Lauterbach and freshman Camila Araujo helped get the Warriors off to strong starts in all three games. The Warriors opened up the night scoring 12 of the first 13 points in the opening game and never looked back, winning the opening game in a breeze 25-14.
Game two was just as dominant a start for the Warriors. The first seven points helped the Warriors lead again from start to finish, holding off a late charge by the Vikings to close out a 25-20 win with the final three points.
“We really pick up a lot from the beginning of the games,” Lauterbach said. “If we can get off to strong starts, it helps for us to begin building that momentum that can carry us through the rest of the match.”
Grand View’s only lead in the match came after scoring three of the first four points in the third game. IHCC’s response was to score the next six points for a 7-3 lead and, after having that advantage cut to one, a 15-3 surge that all but clinched a quick sweep.
“What I really loved about this match is the girls never played down to the level of the competition,” Lyon said. “I thought we had some let down at times over the past weekend, but the girls proved they can play at a very high level no matter who they are facing.”
Coming off a disappointing sweep at eighth-ranked Iowa Western, the Warriors needed a big win to help bolster their hopes heading into the final two weeks of the regular season. IHCC (14-15) will have one more chance to compete on their home floor as Indian Hills hosts Iowa Central on Tuesday for sophomore night.
“The exciting thing is that, even though 14-15 isn’t where any of us thought we’d be at this point of the year, if we can finish these final two weeks strong it can give us all the momentum we need going into the postseason,” Lyon said. “It’s that time of the year. This is when it really gets exciting.”
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