Bring your brooms: Titan volleyball sweeps Millikin Big Blue in three sets

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William Heidenreich

Setter Madi Corey (#6) earned CCIW Player of the Week honors for her performance against the Millikin University Big Blue. Photo credit: Kelsey Risenberg

What has been a tough season for the women’s volleyball team took a turn for the better in their win against the Big Blue from Millikin University last Friday. The Titans swept the Big Blue in three sets, with scores of 26-24, 25-17 and 25-22. 

This win was their first of the season, IWU’s record currently sitting at 1-12, but their victory over Millikin was their fifth consecutive against the Big Blue in the last three seasons.

A close first set, the Titans managed to take it by a narrow margin of two points, 26-24 IWU through one. 

In the first set, the Titans came off to a hot start, scoring the first four points of the match. Not to be silenced, Millikin managed to tie the score at seven all. 

Near the end of the first set with the score tied 24-24, two consecutive kills, one from junior outside hitter Jessica McCall and the other from freshman middle hitter Evy Makris, secured the set for the Titans. 

With two more set wins away from victory, the Titans battled through the second determined not to let Millikin take the set and make the match an even 1-1.

“Our serves made it very difficult for Millikin to get into rhythm, and because of this we were able to capitalize,” sophomore setter Madi Corey said. 

Much like the first set, the second set contained a lot of back-and-forth scoring action, both teams not developing considerable leads. 

With the score tied 5-5,the Titans went on a six-point scoring run, making the score 11-5. Pulling within one point of tying, the Big Blue would eventually fall to the power of the Titan offense, IWU jumping to a 21-14 lead, soon after securing the set win with three consecutive points. 

“When we made mistakes, it was key to focus on the next ball, or next opportunity to make it better than the last,” Corey said.

With the set total at 2-0, the Titans were eager to win the match in the third, but their opponents did not go out without a fight. Point-for-point scoring, a common occurrence in the third, regularly gave way to the Titans pulling ahead by no more than four points. 

At the end of the third, with the score tied 19-19, IWU would trade points with Millikin, the score soon 21-21. Going on a three-point run, the Titans pulled ahead 24-21. Millikin would answer, making the score 24-22, the next point a kill from Evy Makris, 25-22 Titans win. 

“This game was set apart from others because everything finally clicked for us,” Corey said. 

Individual highlights from the night included offensive performances from McCall, Makris, and Corey. 

“Our serves made it very difficult for Millikin to get into rhythm, and because of this we were able to capitalize ” -Madi Corey

Offensively, McCall and Makris had seven points a-piece, three less than Corey who finished with ten. 

Strong defensive efforts came from McCall, who had nine digs, one ahead and of sophomore defensive specialist Amber Juarez. 

Leading the team in blocks, it was a three-way tie between Cori and sophomores hitters Dana Kiszkowski and Courtney McAuliffe, all with two blocks. 

Next week, the Titans will travel to Naperville, Ill. to square-off against conference opponent North Central, anxious to rebound from what has so far been a rough season.