The Tiger Volleyball Program traveled to North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City, IA on Saturday, October 6 for a pair of matches. Entering the day at 23-3, the Tigers were looking to add a pair of wins to their record as they faced off against the hosting Trojans and Grand View University JV. With two more wins, the Tigers would reach an illustrious 25 wins for the season.
The Tigers opened the day with a 10 AM matchup with the Trojans. Entering the day with a record of 15-9, NIACC has had an up and down season after garnering some national attention early in the season and receiving votes in the NJCAA DII Tachikara National Rankings on two separate occasions. On this day, the Trojans opened up looking every bit deserving of being ranked in the DII polls as they opened up an 8-2 lead on the Tigers.
Frustrated by the team's early play, Head Coach, Justin Hoskins was quick to use a timeout. Asked about the timeout after the match, Hoskins stated, "We were playing extremely unfocused and undisciplined. We knew exactly what NIACC wanted to do, but we weren't engaged enough in tracking the hitters they wanted to get involved early and we gave them some easy swings. I hated giving a dangerous team like that as much momentum and confidence as we already had, so I felt we needed to call the timeout at that point."
That was the only timeout the Tigers would call, as from that point on, they looked to be the better team. A tough fought first set ended up seeing the Tigers claim victory, 29-27. The Tigers then cruised to a 25-15 victory in the second set behind a well-balanced attack that saw four players record at least three kills. In the third set, the Tigers persevered through some error-prone play that saw them commit four service errors, five attack errors, and six serve receive errors.
"The attack errors and service errors are part of our game", stated Hoskins. "If you look at the national leader boards, we currently have the seventh most kills out of the 93 NJCAA DI programs and we lead the country in aces. So we're going to have aggressive errors in those areas. But the six serve receive errors are not acceptable. We need to be more confident and aggressive passing through seams."
The second match of the day saw the Tigers dominant serve game lead them to a 3-0 sweep over Grand View JV as they recorded 16 aces in the match. Facing the Vikings for the third time this season, Hoskins was wary of the match going into it. "Grand View has a really solid program. Their varsity group is currently 15-0 and ranked second in the NAIA Coach's Poll. So we know they have talented players throughout their program. Seeing them for the third time, I think we felt confident in knowing what we had to do to beat them, but obviously they're familiar with our strengths and weaknesses also. I was happy with the way we came out and really controlled our side of the net and put them in some tough situations."
Earning their 25th win of the season, the Tigers joined Navarro (28-3) and Snead State (25-8) as the only NJCAA DI programs with 25 wins so far this season. Next up for the Tigers is a showdown with ICCAC foe and #3 ranked Iowa Western when the two teams face off at Reiver Arena on Tuesday, October 9 for a 7 PM match.