The tears on Sunday from Iowa Central head coach Sara Horn continued to flow as each sophomore player was honored inside Hodges Fieldhouse.
And while a handful of the group plans to return in the fall before departing, that didn't keep the emotions from growing.
On the court, the fourth-ranked Tritons shined, sweeping Southeastern by scores of 25-5, 25-22 and 25-12.
Over the past two seasons, Iowa Central (16-3 overall, 15-3 in ICCAC) has gone 49-9, including a 23-4 mark in the conference and a 24-2 record at home. And while COVID-19 protocols have limited the crowd sizes, bleachers were as full as they have been for this group.
"They are just such a great bunch of kids," Horn said. "They are all wonderful people and work so hard. There really isn't ever a day we go to practice and they aren't excited to be here and ready to go. I've talked with coaches around the league, and in this different year, it is just so nice to have a bunch like this.
"They enjoy playing at home and in front of family and friends. I'm just so happy we were able to honor them."
Iowa Central opened the match in convincing fashion, scoring 12 of the first 16 points before closing it on a 10-0 run. They had six aces and four blocks in the set.
"We talked about taking advantage of our serving and I thought we did a great job there," Horn said. "Southeastern is a good team that has just been hit hard by injuries this year. We knew they were better than that first set, so it was also good to see us come together there in the second and third to put it away."
The Blackhawks (7-13, 7-13) held the lead and had the match tied at 20-all before the Tritons rallied with five of the final seven points. In the third, Iowa Central never trailed, with Scott, a St. Edmond graduate, recording the final point on a kill.
"We go in hoping to get as many sophomores in as we can on this day," Horn said. "We knew it wasn't going to be easy with Southeastern, but it was so great to see Devyn finish it off like that."
The Tritons now have 13 three-set sweeps this season and finish the year with Southwestern on Tuesday. The Region XI Tournaments begin on Friday with Iowa Central likely to be in action next Sunday.
-By Dana Becker