COLFAX — Whether it was a few days after a busy homecoming week or simply overlooking a team which hasn’t won a match yet, something was off for the Colfax-Mingo volleyball team on Monday.
The good news is, the Tigerhawks still left their gym with a victory. BGM held leads deep into the first three sets, but Colfax-Mingo rallied twice and then controlled the fourth set during a 25-22, 26-24, 20-25, 25-21 win during South Iowa Cedar League play.
The Bears came into the match without a win in their first 20 matches of the season but held a 16-12 lead in the first two sets, led the entire way in the third set and was tied with the Tigerhawks at 17-all in the fourth set.
Colfax-Mingo had enough though to escape with the conference win.
“We did not come to play, but we managed to sneak out of here with a win. That’s the good news,” Colfax-Mingo coach Michelle Grant said. “I was not enjoying myself as a coach until the last 15 points or so.”
Senior Megan Earles, who had another double-double, warned her team before every set that they couldn’t play down to their opponent’s level. Earles was unsure why the message did not reach the team.
“It’s hard to get the team back up when they are down. It’s way harder than you think. That’s the biggest challenge for the two seniors,” said Earles, who finished with 22 assists and 11 digs. “It’s a huge mental game for us. When we play teams who are good we usually stick with them pretty well. It’s something that we need to fix.”
Colfax-Mingo’s other senior, Ries Wilson, also collected a double-double. She finished with 14 kills, 15 digs and five aces. The Tigerhawks served up nine aces in the win but also had 28 hitting errors and six service errors.
The two teams played even through the first 20 points of the first set, but BGM (0-21 overall, 0-5 in the SICL) scored six of the next eight points to grab an advantage. Colfax-Mingo rallied behind its two seniors and eventually took the lead for good at 22-19 following a Wilson ace.
The Bears led 12-5 in the second set and then held a 16-12 advantage for the second straight game. The Tigerhawks (8-7, 2-3) rallied to tie it at 16-all, but BGM went back up 23-17. The Bears couldn’t close though as Colfax-Mingo scored nine of the next 10 to win by two. An ace by junior Mac Brown finished it off.
“We just weren’t all here tonight. The enthusiasm was lower than normal,” Earles said. “It’s nice that we won, but most of us are still hanging our heads because we know we can play better. It’s better than it would have been had we lost though.”
BGM extended the match with a win in set three. The Bears led throughout and closed this one out to get to a fourth set.
The Tigerhawks lost a 9-5 lead after BGM rallied to tie it at 12-all. It would be tied three more times before Colfax-Mingo scored two straight to stay in front the rest of the way. Wilson put her team up 22-19 with a tip and then collected two kills on the final two points to seal the win.
The girls bring up a lot that they play down to the competition. They know that,” Grant said. “I didn’t know what to tell them. We just didn’t play well. We had too many hitting errors again.
“I do not like homecoming, I hate to blame homecoming, but it didn’t help that we came off a busy week and then played a team who has struggled this year. They just walked in tonight thinking the game was already over.”
Wilson had 14 of the team’s 26 kills. Brown was next with four and junior Colbee Cunningham had three.
Junior Chelsea Russell tallied a team-high 24 digs, Brown finished with 13 and Cunningham added eight.
The Tigerhawks were 89-of-95 in serves. Russell was 18-of-19, Earles finished 10-of-10, Cunningham was 19-of-21, Brown was 15-of-17 and Wilson had only one serving error in 15 attempts. Freshman Chelsey Temple was 7-of-7.
Colfax-Mingo plays in the Madrid tournament at 8 a.m. Saturday.