The three and a half hour bus ride to Iowa Lakes in Estherville, IA took nearly three and a half times as long as it took the Tigers to sweep the home team Lakers. The Tigers came into Thursday night's matchup leading the season series 1-0 over the Lakers after a thrilling 17-15 victory in the fifth set of a comeback win on September, 10, that saw them get down two sets to zero. Unlike the first clash, this time, the Tigers dominated the match from start to finish.
MCC opened the match firing on all cylinders. Elena Yee led the offensive attack with four kills in the opening set while Sadie Smith made her impact felt at the service line with five aces. The Tigers controlled the set by committing just one attack error on their way to a .474 hitting percentage.
A lineup change brought the Lakers new life as the second set began, as they inserted Brittany Butler into the starting lineup at setter. Butler was able to speed up and diversify the Iowa Lakes offense as they opened up a quick 10-5 lead, prompting a timeout from the Tigers.
"We were playing just a half step slow defensively to start that second set" said MCC Head Coach, Justin Hoskins. "I think we got a little bit too comfortable and stopped pushing for each point. Lakes is a very streaky team who can play really well when they get some confidence and get on a roll. So we really wanted to put a stop to their momentum early on."
The timeout did just that as the Tigers would go on to win 20 of the next 27 points to take set two 25-17 and head into the locker room up two sets to zero.
If anybody knows a team can come back after being down two sets to zero, it's the Lakers who were on the wrong end of the feat by the Tigers earlier in the year. However, any thought of a five-set victory for the home team was quickly exhausted as the Tigers cruised to a 25-10 victory in the third set behind 14 kills and 0 hitting errors.
The Tigers played one of their most complete matches of the season on Thursday night as their .385 hitting percentage was .141% points higher than their season average and their 16 service aces tied their season high which they have now achieved four times throughout the season.