Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
MT. PLEASANT — The Iowa Wesleyan volleyball team threatened early to pull a monster upset in its last home game of the season, but the Tigers didn't have enough gas in the final sets and lost to No. 14 Webster 3-1 (27-29, 25-18, 25-20, 25-16).
The Tigers had a slow start to the first set but caught fire midway through the game. Trailing 15-11, Iowa Wesleyan's Jaden Streeter sent down an ace that kicked off a 10-4 Iowa Wesleyan run to give the Tigers a 21-19 lead.
Iowa Wesleyan had game point four different times in the first set. The Tigers finally broke through when a Malieokekai kill gave Iowa Wesleyan a 29-27 advantage, and Lezar-Rhea Burnside blocked a Webster kill attempt which settled on the Gorlok side of the net for a 29-17 victory.
The Tigers threatened to run away with the second set early. Iowa Wesleyan scored the first three points of the set, including another ace from Streeter to make it 3-0. The Tigers held the lead throughout the second set and even stretched the advantage to five points, at 14-9, on an ace by Jenna Murphy.
Webster responded with a 13-3 run, stealing all the momentum from the hosting Tigers. The Gorloks scored 16 of the final 20 points in the second set to even the series up with a 25-18 win.
Iowa Wesleyan battled back from a third-set deficit to take a short-lived lead at 20-19 on an ace by DeMate. The Gorloks closed the game out on a five-point run to win 25-20, and dominated the fourth set, 25-16.
'Honestly, this is the best volleyball we've played,' said Tiger head coach Aleksandra Popovic. 'It really showed we could play with the best of the best.'
Burnside led the squad with 13 kills. Emily Gehring and Skylar Garcille finished with seven apiece. DeMate had six, and Anna Leidl finished with four.
Jenna Murphy paced the squad with 26 digs. Lindsay Frenandez dished out 16 assist, and Leamaris Fuentes finished with 11 assists.
The Tigers had seven service aces compared to just five service errors. Streeter had three of those aces. DeMate had two, and both Fernandez and Murphy finished with one.
It was the last home game for the Tigers' senior class, including Leidl and Murphy who have each been with the program for the last four years. Popovic said she was glad the team could perform at a high level on the seniors' last night at Olan G. Ruble arena.
'This is their last game in Ruble,' Popovic said. 'They were really proud of the effort we gave, and then can walk out today being proud of the work that they did.'
The Tiger volleyball team is now 1-12 on the year, and will finish off regular season play on Wednesday night at Eureka before shifting its focus to the conference tournament.