MT. PLEASANT — Iowa Wesleyan’s journey to the top four in the SLIAC volleyball standings took a hit on Thursday night when the Tigers were upended by Blackburn College. The Beavers beat the Tigers in four sets, 25-19, 27-25, 22-25, 25-12.
The Tigers, who were celebrating senior night, were in a double-digit hole early in game one. They came back to cut the lead to three points, at 22-19, but Blackburn closed it out with three-straight points to go up 1-0.
The two teams went back-and-forth in the second set. IW had game point, up 25-24, but Blackburn once again scored the final three points and went up 2-0.
IW was able to control the third set and hung on for a 25-22 win. Blackburn bounced right back, however, and dominated the fourth set.
“The truth is, on days like this, emotions run very high,” said head coach Aleksandra Popovic. “Really, this team genuinely loves one another, so emotions definitely got the best of us. We started slow. We weren’t doing what we were supposed to do, and Blackburn was just a better team today.”
Lida Landre had 16 kills on the night to lead the team. Anna Leidl finished wiht 11 kills. Ariel Smale had five. Paige Kammerer and Grace Thomas had four each. Maritza Romero finished with three, and Jenna Murphy had one.
Smale and Kammerer co-led the team with 17 assists apiece. Murphy had 17 digs. Kammerer finished with 12 digs, and Jaden Streeter had 11 digs.
The Tigers had five service errors and five service aces. Smale led the way with two aces. Landre, Murphy and Streeter each had one.
IW is now 8-14 overall and 4-7 in the SLIAC. They’ll take on MacMurray College in their next game, on Thursday, Oct. 24.
“We have a lot of opportunities the next few games,” Coach Popovic said. “We have competition days left. We’ll be ready to go. The season isn’t over. The run for the top four is not over, and we’re just going to keep on doing our thing.”