IMS completes sweep in 3rd setNo. 13 Iowa Mennonite improves to 16-8 overall and 5-1 in conference action
KALONA — The Iowa Mennonite volleyball team had its way with WACO in the first two sets but had to come back for a game-three win.
WACO took an 8-7 lead in the final set, just its second lead of the night.
WACO junior Erika Leichty had an ace during a 7-0 spurt that built her team a 13-7 lead before a serving error.
Leichty finished the game with 13-of-14 serves with four aces and 17 digs.
IMS trailed by five at 15-20 before eight straight points gave IMS a 23-20 lead that it would not relent.
IMS sophomore Natalie Graber had seven serves that resulted in points during that stretch.
“She showed great composure in that situation,” said head coach Dwight Gingerich. “She has great instincts. She is a very solid and calm player. She got better as the night went along. She became a factor.”
Perez said Graber gives the team confidence when she serves.
The game ended 25-23 on a hitting error from WACO senior Rosemary Skriver.
Skriver had six kills, nine digs and a block with 8-of-8 serving.
“Our serve reception was good during that run,” said WACO head coach Jay Coble. “We only had one shank, but we couldn’t run any offense.”
WACO looked like it would take the third set, which provided good competition for IMS.
“I will give credit to them,” Perez said. “Their hitters were doing really well. It is fun when you can have a good competition. They were scrappy.”
The lone lead that WACO had in the first two sets was 1-0 in the opening set.
IMS senior Casey Perez had a string of successful serves that put her team up 12-2.
“I knew I was on a streak; the worst thing I can do is break it,” Perez said.
The closest WACO got the rest of the way was eight points in a 25-16 loss.
Perez had an all-around strong match with 28 assists, 13 digs, three kills, four aces and 17-of-18 serving.
“Casey was really tremendous; she made some incredible plays defensively,” Gingerich said.
Coble had nothing but praise for Perez’s performance as she directed IMS throughout the night.
“Casey Perez is a dynamite setter,” Coble said. “There is no doubt about it. She was the difference. Their hitters can hit what they hit because she puts them in position.”
IMS senior Olivia Yutzy came into the match averaging 4.34 kills per set and topped that mark with a game-hgh 19 kills over three games. She had 10 digs.
“She is far and away our kill leader,” Gingerich said. “She is an outstanding player, too.”
IMS senior Kristin Davis had a solid night at the libero spot with 15 digs and two aces.
“We try to give her permission to get to every ball she can,” Gingerich said. “She did a good job of asserting herself tonight.”
From the outset of the second game IMS took a 5-0 lead on successful serves from sophomore Demi Brezina, who finished with 15 digs and two aces.
From there, IMS took a 20-5 lead after five serves that resulted in points from junior Hannah Miller. Miller had the game point in a 25-11 win.
WACO senior Ashlyn Hammen dished out 19 assists to go with eight digs and 7-of-7 serving.
WACO junior Aaliyah Brown led the team with nine kills. WACO freshman Molly Edgar and junior Leah McElhinney went a combined 18-of-19 on serves.