Somewhere on Saturday, Terry Carlson had to be smiling.
And not just because Iowa beat Minnesota in their Big Ten opener.
Lisa Mathes and Lyndsey Lyon, two former assistant coaches under Carlson, met on Saturday in the final match of the first weekend action at home since 2009 for the Indian Hills volleyball team. And in the end, on the same home court where Carlson won so many games as Warriors head coach, the IHCC spikers picked up two more wins for Lyon with a clean sweep of Iowa Lakes (25-9, 25-16, 25-21) and East Central (25-18, 25-15, 25-14) on Saturday.
There were plenty of smiles to go around when the quadrangular was over, including one for Carlson’s successor.
“I’m happy with the way we played. It was nice to get to do this on our home floor. There were good teams, good people and some good volleyball played by us,” Lyon said.
Smiles could also be found on every Warrior player who contributed to IHCC’s 15th and 16th wins of the year. Those players also got the rare treat of getting to walk back to their dorms after action on Saturday rather then hitting the road to head home.
“It was awesome to finally have our home tournament,” Emily Eswonia said. “It was really cool to see all of our fans in the stands on a Saturday. We usually don’t see any of them when we have to go somewhere else for a weekend tournament.”
Indian Hills was on point right from the start of their home tourney, dominating Iowa Lakes in the first of four matches played at the Tom Arnold Net Center. IHCC won the opening game going away by 16 points, the most lopsided score of any game played throughout the day despite the 10 a.m. start time for the Warriors.
“We’re not morning people (on the team), so weekend tournaments are usually really different for us,” Eswonia said after joining Jessi Black in leading IHCC with 11 digs against the Lakers. “For us to get started, we have to wake up earlier just to get up and get our bodies moving. Usually later in the day, we do better.”
IHCC trailed only twice in the sweep against Iowa Lakes and quickly retook the lead both times in the opening-match sweep of Iowa Lakes. Against East Central, coached by Mathes, the Warriors faced a team that tested the Warriors throughout three games with a lot of hustle that forced IHCC to work for every point.
“We really played good defense, but we just have a hard time finding a way to finish those rallies,” Mathes said. “We are, unfortunately, not the ones getting the kills and side outs to finish those points. We only have one or two people that can attack the net. Once we find more depth to finish hitting the ball, we’ll have more success.”
IHCC showcased their depth at the net throughout the contest, highlighted by Carla Novaes’ team-best 52-58 hitting performance with a tournament-best 18 kills — one ahead of teammate Peyton Crosser. The Warriors missed just nine of 111 hits at the net against East Central and finished a dominant day of defense with 16 more blocks in the final match, giving IHCC 36 for the day.
“We played East Central at Kirkwood’s tournament and that ability to keep points alive was what hurt us the most,” Eswonia said. “This time, we came out to play just as hard and were just as scrappy as them.”
Cristine Vosconcoles helped put away any chance for an East Central rally, dropping in a kill before continuing a nearly-perfect serving day with six straight points that helped IHCC turn a 10-6 game-two deficit into a 13-10 lead. Novaes also scored on eight straight service points to put away game two as the fight of an all-freshman East Central squad wasn’t enough.
“I love coaching all freshmen. It’s been a lot of fun,” Mathes said. “They work really hard, but they’re still learning as they go. No one’s really stepped into that role as a vocal leader on the floor. Hopefully we can find that by season’s end.”
IHCC, meanwhile, moves to a season-best 12 games over .500 and will take a 16-4 record into a homecoming week that will feature two more home games. The Warriors turn around to face Grand View JV tonight at 7 p.m. before hosting Southeastern on Wednesday.
Next weekend, Indian Hills will return the favor by playing at East Central’s tournament in Missouri. It will give a chance for Lyon and Mathes to see each other again, continuing a history that stretches all the way back to the playing days of the first-year Warrior head coach.
“Lisa tried recruiting me to play for her team at DMACC when I was in high school. I had a couple of visits with her, so we’ve known each other for a while,” Lyon said.
“That makes me feel a little old knowing that I tried to recruit her and now I’m coaching against her,” Mathes joked. “I’m really happy to see the success she’s having here, especially being an alumnus and all.”
Indian Hills 25-25-25
Iowa Lakes 9-16-21
Serving — Cristine Vosconcoles 18-19, Emily Eswonia 15-16, Carla Novaes 11-13, Ailime deFreitas 9-9, Peyton Crosser 8-8, Victoria Ita 8-10, Jessi Black 1-1, Taylor Delaney 1-1. Team 71-77. Aces — Novaes 2, deFreitas, Eswonia, Ita, Vosconcoles. Team — 6.
Hitting — Novaes 22-24, Crosser 18-19, Ita 14-15, Eswonia 13-17, Vosconcoles 8-12, Shelby Lauterbach 7-10, deFreitas 5-5. Team 87-102. Kills — Novaes 9, Crosser 7, Ita 5, Eswonia 4, Lauterbach 4, deFreitas 3, Vosconcoles 3. Team — 35.
Setting — deFreitas 34, Ita. Team — 35.
Blocks — Vosconcoles 6, Ita 5, Novaes 5, Crosser 4. Team — 20.
Digs — Black 11, Eswonia 11, Delaney 8, deFreitas 8, Kassidy Guiham 5, Crosser 2, Ita 2, Novaes 2, Vosconcoles 2, Lauterbach. Team — 52.
Indian Hills 25-25-25
East Central 18-15-14
Serving — Vosconcoles 24-24, Eswonia 14-14, Novaes 12-13, deFreitas 8-8, Ita 6-8, Crosser 3-5, Kaylee Scholten 1-1. Team 68-73. Aces — Novaes 2, Vosconcoles 2. Team — 4.
Hitting — Novaes 30-34, Crosser 19-21, Ita 13-15, Vosconcoles 12-12, Eswonia 11-12, Lauterbach 9-9, deFreitas 7-7, Black 1-1. Team 102-111. Kills — Crosser 10, Novaes 9, Vosconcoles 7, Eswonia 5, Ita 4, Lauterbach 4, deFreitas 3. Team — 42.
Setting — deFreitas 34, Scholten 6, Guiham. Team — 41.
Blocks — Crosser 5, Vosconcoles 4, deFreitas 2, Eswonia 2, Novaes 2, Ita. Team — 16.
Digs — Black 16, Eswonia 12, deFreitas 11, Delaney 9, Guiham 5, Vosconcoles 5, Crosser 4, Novaes 3. Team — 65.
Somewhere on Saturday, Terry Carlson had to be smiling.
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