Tritons sweep into quarterfinals

Tritons sweep into quarterfinals

CEDAR RAPIDS - It was all Iowa Central here Tuesday morning, as the third-seeded Tritons scored a 3-0 sweep over Carl Sandburg in the opening round of the NJCAA Div. II Volleyball Championships.

Scores were 25-15, 25-22 and 25-19.

Iowa Central will face Catawba Valley back here at 5:30 p.m. from the Alliant Energy PowerHouse Arena in the quarterfinals. Catawba, the six-seed, topped North Platte in four. 

Sophomore Kealey Anderson recorded 15 kills with four digs and an ace while Angel Baylark added nine kills and Katilyn Steffes six to lead the way for the Tritons (20-3 overall). 

Reigning ICCAC Player of the Year Alesha Johnson had 32 assists with 10 digs and three aces. 

Anderson had four kills in the opening set as Iowa Central set the tone early on the Chargers (10-9). They never trailed and led throughout, using a 9-3 run to take control. 

Five straight points ended the first set in favor of the Tritons, who carried that momentum right into the second. 

Molly McCauley chipped in with five kills and three digs, and Haley Alharithy had four kills and four total blocks. 

Carl Sandburg, who will play in the consolation rounds, did tie the second set at 12-12 and 13-13 before another big Triton rally saw them score five in a row. The Chargers made one last effort, cutting the deficit to 19-18 before Iowa Central scored seven of the final 11 points.

As a team, the Tritons finished with 40 kills, six serving aces, 38 digs and eight total blocks, including four solo blocks.

In the third and final set, Iowa Central tallied six consecutive points after falling behind 1-0. A 9-3 run nearly put Carl Sandburg away, and a 8-4 closing burst did. 

Baylyn Johnson had 13 digs and two aces.

Iowa Central is making its sixth appearance at nationals and first since the 2017 season. 

-By Dana Becker