MASON CITY - The fifth-ranked Iowa Central volleyball team was pushed to the limit here Thursday night vs. North Iowa Area.
And despite being short-handed on the court, the Tritons delivered, picking up a five-set victory over the Trojans.
Scores were 25-19, 21-25, 22-25, 25-16 and 15-7.
Facing a loss, Iowa Central (13-2 overall, 12-2 in ICCAC) found their rhythm as freshman Angel Baylark recorded a match-high 23 kills on 56 percent hitting with five blocks assists and a solo block. Kealey Anderson added 15 kills, 12 digs, three block assists and two serving aces.
"We left a third of our team at home and got on the road about 30 minutes later than planned, so it was a bit of a chaotic start," Iowa Central head coach Sara Horn said. "We didn't start off super strong, but really settled in and started playing well in set four."
Haley Alharithy had seven kills and three blocks assists, Bailey Dugan added five kills, 11 digs and a serving ace, and Alesha Johnson picked up 52 assists for the two-time defending league champions. Molly McCauley also had five kills and 11 digs with Baylyn Johnson adding 19 digs, Karli Eckert seven digs and Taylor Ricke three.
"All the girls stepped up and came together," Horn said. "We had a huge offensive game out of Angel and had everyone pick up their defensive game in the last two sets. NIACC also had a couple of players out with injuries, so it was fun to see both teams scrap and have a really competitive match.
"We haven't had a five-set match yet this year and I was really proud of how the team responded."
Iowa Central plays for the fourth time in eight days this Sunday when they host No. 8 Hawkeye (11-3, 11-3) at noon inside Hodges Fieldhouse.
-By Dana Becker