It took three sets for the Illini Bluffs volleyball team to put away resilient Midwest Central in a Tomahawk Conference match Monday night in Glasford.
The Tigers (4-1, 1-0) won 25-8, 20-25, 25-19 after owning the first set before the Raiders (0-7, 0-1) stormed back to force a third set.
Illini Buffs used a 8-0 run in the first set to race out to an 8-2 lead before controlling the set.
Midwest Central did not go away. The Raiders fell behind 9-3 in the second set before going on a 9-2 run behind the play of Alison Trettin. After Midwest Central took an 18-14 lead, the Tigers roared back to take a 19-18 lead prior to Midwest Central closing out the set.
The Raiders made changes to their lineup prior to the matchthat included Trettin changing from setting half of the game to setting the entire game. The move paid off. The senior led the Raiders with 11 assists on the night.
“(Trettin) definitely showed that she can be a leader and play,” Midwest Central head coach Andrea Burks said.
Burks also brought up freshman Taylor Smith to play her first varsity game and was happy with the results and the changes to her personnel.
“The first set was them getting to know how it was going to work, but sets two and three were them showing that we are on the right path,” Burks said.
Youth is not on the side of the Tigers, either. The team has no seniors and consists predominately of juniors. Head coach Nancy Meyer said her team is growing rapidly, but still makes inexperienced errors.
Both teams displayed their youth with unforced errors, but had several points that included long volleys. Meyer wants to see her team clean up errors, specifically passing.
“As long as we get a good pass, we’re OK,” Meyer said. “Our passing tonight came and went. That’s a young team. If we can ever get our passing to come together consistently, I think we’ll be OK.”
The Tigers are also going through changes. Junior Ciela Tamayo moved from outside to the inside and made good choices, Meyers said.
Tamayo and Bree Kallister both led the Tigers with eight kills. Kallister also led the team with three blocks. Macy Rademaker led the Tigers with 14 assists.
“You have to realize we started three freshman that have not played on the varsity level,” Meyer said. “They still make a few mistakes, but that’s to be expected. I’ve seen us come together, meshing juniors and freshman. It’s been a process, I think we’re getting there.”