Fri, Nov. 2, 2012 - [Volleyball]
(26-24, 25-17, 25-27, 25-21)
The Loras College volleyball team took down the #2 seed Coe College on Thursday night in Cedar Rapids, knocking off the Kohawks for the first time in an Iowa Conference event since the 2010 regular season when the Duhawks won the IIAC's regular season title.
With a spot in Saturday's Iowa Conference Tournament Championship game on the line, the Duhawks proved early in the match they weren't interested reliving or repeating the 3-0 sweep they took in Cedar Rapids from October 3.
Coe committed a match-high 11 errors in the opening set, including miscues on the final two points of the opening frame. After the Kohawks fought their way back late in the set, Loras prevailed 26-24 to take a 1-0 lead.
The biggest win in terms of both point differential and momentum came in Set 2. Loras put down 14 kills to Coe's 12 and held a lead for much of the set. In the end, a late charge gave the guests a 25-17 victory and a healthy 2-0 lead.
Coe answered with a win in the third set. Midway through this frame, the Kohawks took a lead and forced the Duhawks to use both timeouts – and a late rally by Loras forced extra points to determine a winner as Loras threatened to sweep the hosts. A fourth set would be necessary after a 27-25 win by the Kohawks.
The fourth set of the night was the decisive one, with Loras continuing to push the pace and put pressure on the hosts. When Loras went in front 12-10 and forced Coe to play from behind, the Duhawk offense only became more efficient. Loras would post a Thursday-best 19 kills in Set 4 and commit a Thursday-low 3 errors – good for a .327 percentage. Coe took their final timeout of the night with Loras in front 17-14, and the purple and gold held off any threats of a comeback win to force a fifth set – winning 25-21.
Individually, no Duhawk had more than five errors on the night. Kara Grant led the team in kills (16), digs (21), and aced (2). The three seniors on the roster, Kenzie Goedken, Regan Riley, and Cassie Crabill were quite simply as good as they've been all year. The trio accounted for 32 of the team's 58 kills, hit .262 as a unit, and committed just six errors. They added 24 digs and four blocks. Goedken and Crabill each had 10 kills and Riley a dozen. Riley was also a key part of the defense with 17 digs. Crabill was a force at the net, assisting on each of Loras' six blocks on the night.
Shawn Rielly and Courtney Boyd once again teamed up for the setter duties. Rielly posted 24 assists and Boyd 13.
"I couldn't have been more proud of our players than I was last night," head coach Teresa Kehe said.
"Our execution and heart was amazing! We set the tone early at the net by getting some great touches with our block and in the back row with some incredible digs and pursuit. Coe knew quickly that we had come to compete and that it was going to be a much different match than they'd had with us earlier this season."
Kehe also added her thoughts on Saturday's championship game.
"Our match at Wartburg Saturday night will be a great challenge and one that will take the kind of effort we displayed last night against Coe," she added. "We are very excited about how we are playing right now and are looking forward to the opportunity."
The win puts Loras in the Iowa Conference Tournament Championship game against #1 seed and regular season champion Wartburg College. The #11 Knights won 3-1 over Luther on Thursday night in Waverly. They won the regular season matchup in Waverly, 25-13, 27-25, and 25-20.
Saturday's championship match will be broadcast live throughout Eastern Iowa on KCRG 9.2. It will also be streamed online at kcrg.com.
KCRG 9.2 is a digital subchannel of KCRG-TV9, the ABC affiliate in Eastern Iowa owned and operated by Cedar Rapids Television Company. KCRG 9.2 can also be found on cable systems throughout Eastern Iowa. To see if your cable system carries KCRG 9.2, click http://www.kcrg.com/9point2/where-to-find.
Check out the Iowa Conference Tournament web page HERE.