JUCO volleyball: Second-ranked Warriors win 20th match

Sep. 16—OTTUMWA — It would probably be a stretch to compare Haleigh Hadley to Michael Jordan.

For one set on Thursday, Hadley was able to share in an experience that the NBA's all-time greatest player famously went through 25 years ago in pursuit of his fifth world championship with the Chicago Bulls. The Indian Hills sophomore record four kills in five attacks during the third set of the second-ranked Warrior volleyball team's 25-9, 25-11, 25-17 home sweep of Northeast (Nebraska) on Thursday afternoon.

It wasn't quite 'The Flu Game,' where Jordan willed himself to a 38-point performance in the pivotal fifth game of the 1997 NBA Finals, lifting Chicago to a 90-88 win at Utah that ultimately propelled the Bulls to a six-game series win over the Jazz. Hadley spent far less time on the court on Thursday, making just a brief appearance in the final game of Thursday's match at the Hellyer Student Life Center overcoming a sinus infection that left the Gilbert native dizzy and fatigued after the match.

"I personally don't feel very good at the moment," Hadley joked after the match. "It did feel good to get in there and play for a little bit. I didn't really feel very good out there on the court. I'm pretty good at compartmentalizing what I need to do. Know matter how I feel physically, if Coach (Lyndsey Michel) is going to put me in, then I'm going to compete the best that I can."

Michel might have had no choice but to bring Hadley off the bench. Less than 24 hours after a emotional, physical four-game win over two-time defending national champion Iowa Western, all 16 Warrior players saw time on the court on Thursday against Northeast.

"We actually ran out of subs right there at the end," Michel said after guiding IHCC within two wins of the program's best start, set back in 2014 when the Warriors went 22-1. "It was good to get everyone in. When you run out of subs like that, you really do have to get it done and not allow the match to get extended."

Kinga Michalska produced seven kills while Larissa Barreiros Scatamburlo and Jenna Vallée each added six winners against the Hawks. Scatamburlo was the team lead with 10 digs as well.

Indian Hills produced 18 block assists on Thursday, tied for the third-most this season. Erica Calderon Rosario provided five stops at the net.

Four different Warriors produced at least two service aces on the day as Indian Hills posted 13 total aces, the second-most in a match this year. Hennesys Lalane tallied four while Lisa Bonnefoy, Maggie Paiva and Sasha Vidal each added a pair.

With the win, Indian Hills moves to 7-0 all-time vs. Northeast. The Warriors have now claimed 39 of the last 45 sets during the team's 13-match win streak.

Scatamburlo led IHCC's offensive attack one night earlier against Iowa Western, officially recording 12 kills with a .450 hitting percentage. Six different individuals produced at least four kills against the Reivers on Wednesday including eight from Vallée and seven apiece from Michalska and Rosario.

"We've won 20 matches now. The No. 1 team in the country (Florida Southwestern) has only played nine," Vallee said. "It's fine to be ranked second for now, but we're ready for the challenge. We know people are going to be up facing us with the high national ranking. We want to ultimately get to the national tournament and bring back that (national championship) ring."

Lalane, this week's ICCAC Offensive Player of the Week, totaled 41 assists in seven games over the two wins with a team-high six service aces on Wednesday against Iowa Western. Vidal added a team-high 20 digs in the Iowa Western victory.

Indian Hills continued its stronghold as the nation's top blocking team with 35 more stops in the two home wins. The second-ranked Warriors lead the NJCAA with 252 total blocks, led by reigning ICCAC Defensive Player of the Week Jarolin de los Santos' national-leading 95 total blocks and 34 solo stops.

"The big secret in blocking is to have that explosive transition. You need to have that power on your second step to be able to get your hands up and get the ball down," de los Santos said. "It feels so great to get that big block. It's like your hammering the player down. You get so excited, you feel like you have all the power in the world at that moment."

Next up for second-ranked Indian Hills (20-1) is a trip to Waterloo to take on Hawkeye Community College at 1 p.m.

— Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.