OTTUMWA — When they got together to prepare for the upcoming season back in early August, the Indian Hills volleyball team was filled with all sorts of optimism.
After going 30-11 last season and with a solid international recruiting class slated to join the mix, head coach Lyndsey Lyon felt her team had everything in place for another successful year in 2013.
“I think what we’ve got here is going to be just as great as and hopefully even better than last year,” Lyon said. “If we all gel together and we all stay healthy, it should be another great year.”
Three weeks into the season, however, those two key elements to producing an even better season have been trickier to accomplish than the Warriors anticipated. Injuries just before the start of the season and continuing adjustments to lineups changes have kept the IHCC spikers from being able to “gel” on the court.
And unfortunately for the Warriors, the first three weeks of the season has not allowed much in the way of easy opponents to right the ship against. The results have been several tough matches, hard-fought wins, but lately several tougher-to-take losses.
The most recent case of that came on Thursday night when the Warriors looked like they were about to give the fans on at the Tom Arnold Net Center a long battle with Kirkwood, the eighth-ranked Division II team in NJCAA. After losing game one 25-18 without leading once, IHCC battled through 12 ties and five lead changes to win a thrilling second game 26-24 to even the match.
But just as it appeared they had turned the corner and forced the Eagles into a battle, the Eagles took off over the next two games. Several hitting errors and a smoother counter attack at the net helped Kirkwood pull away for two-straight decisive wins in games three and four as the Eagles spoiled the long-awaited home opener for IHCC, winning 25-12 and 25-15 in the final two games of the match.