Iowa Central rolls in volleyball season opener

As far as home debuts go, the No. 17 (NJCAA, Div. II) Iowa Central volleyball team was perfect.

The Tritons swept the Grand View JV in three by scores of 25-15, 25-16 and 25-13.

First-year head coach Gary Anderson just as pleased as the final result indicated for Iowa Central (4-1 overall), which was coming off a third place finish this past weekend at the Lady Bulldog Invitational in Wisconsin.

“When you are playing that first home game, there are going to be jitters, but I thought we quickly got them out of our system,” said Anderson, who coached Southeastern last year and has won over 400 matches in his 15-plus seasons. “We know with a national ranking that we are carrying a target on our back, but we’ve placed just as much of the pressure to succeed on ourselves.

“I thought we got a lot of great performances from a number of girls (Tuesday night).”

Sophomore Mattie Gray, who followed Anderson from Southeastern, recorded 14 kills, including five in the opening set. Her ability to get open looks came thanks to strong showings out of Kelci Larson and Ali Grein.

“Mattie is just a great player who worked incredibly hard this summer to make this happen,” Anderson said. “Despite a heavy school workload, she continued to work hard on the court. She’s a key piece to what we want to accomplish, but I was very pleased with Kelci, Ali and others, as well.”

Larson recorded 11 kills, including six in the first, while Grein had seven.

After the Vikings tied the opener at 10-all, the Tritons kicked out the jitters and went on a tear, scoring 15 of the final 20 points. The second went much the same, as it was knotted up at 10-10 before Iowa Central scored 15 of the final 21.

“We’ve still got a lot to work on, but these are young players who are learning a lot of new ways to play the game,” Anderson said. “We expect them to compete at a high-level, and I am confident we will reach that level.”

The Tritons sealed the deal in the third, completing the sweep by scoring the final 10 points of the match. Emma Irvin had two aces during the rally, as Iowa Central had six total on the night.

Next action for the Tritons is this Friday and Saturday when they travel to Toledo, Oh. to compete in the Owens Tournament. Iowa Central returns home next Wednesday to open ICCAC play against Ellsworth.