LaJunta, Colorado -- After rolling through their first three matches with ease, Indian Hills overcame a stiff test in their final action in the Otero Junior College tournament and beat the host school in a tense five-setter to close out the trip to OJC. IHCC was really only challenged in the first and last set while winning their first nine sets of the tourney, then found themselves down 2-0 in the Otero match, before rallying for a 3-2 win to push their season record to 7-0.
The Warriors began with Sheridan (Wyo.) and after escaping with a 26-24 decision in the opening set, they won the next two, 25-11 and 25-16. Mariana Rodrigues got off to a good start with a team-best 17 kills and .419 hitting percentage. Rodrigues also had 11 digs, four behind team leader Amanda Toyota who had 15. Ana Nunes, who had a solid tournament, had four blocks, the same number as Iva Vranic. Cassia Lemos picked up 35 assists and matched teammate Suzana Andrade with three ace serves.
Friday's second match saw the Warriors roll over Trinidad State (Colo.), winning 25-14, 25-12 and 25-15. Vranic led the way with 11 kills, Lemos had 40 assists, Toyota, Rodrigues and Lemos each had 10 digs and Thayna Birimba slammed half of her team's 10 aces.
IHCC came back with 13 ace serves in a 3-0 victory against Casper (Wyo.) on Saturday, five of them by Rodrigues. The Warriors won 25-14 and 25-17 and then held off Casper to win 28-26. Rodrigues topped Indian Hills with 12 kills, Lemos had 32 assists and a team-high 12 digs, and Toyota had 11 digs while Sophia Nascimento led at the net with three blocks.
Otero quickly jumped out to a lead in Saturday's final match, taking the first two sets by identical scores of 25-17. The Warriors stayed in the match with a 26-24 verdict, and then won the next two sets, 25-20 and 15-13. It was the second straight weekend that IHCC rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat a top team, having done the same to Jefferson (Mo.) the previous weekend in the season-opening tourney. Rodrigues had 17 kills and got great support from Nunes, who had 15 kills to go along with four blocks, and Vranic with 11 kills. Toyota had double-figures in digs for the fourth consecutive match, she had 14, two more than Rodrigues. Lemus piled up an additional 57 assists to bring her tournament total to 164, an average of 41 per match. Indian Hills overcame a whopping 29 kills by Otero's Macie Magallon.
The Warriors are idle until they face off against Jefferson (Mo.) at the Hellyer Center on Sept. 7.