Southwestern's team-play mentality stays hot

Southwestern focuses on a balanced team-based attack as conference play heats up.
Southwestern focuses on a balanced team-based attack as conference play heats up.

The Southwestern Spartans have picked up momentum after a slow start to the season. After starting the season 0-8, the team has won nine of its last 13 games to get its overall record to 9-12 at the midpoint of the season.

During the weekend of Sept. 22, 2018, the Spartans picked up a couple of wins against Southeast Community College in Beatrice, Nebraska, and William Penn JV during a home match-up.

"The girls have been learning to trust each other and are playing more as a team in recent weeks," said Southwestern Head Coach Casey Quiggle.   

The Spartans were not content with the weekend victories, however, and continued to work for an ICCAC victory. The team came into its Wednesday, Sept. 26, conference match against Southeastern Community College, in Burlington, ready to play. After dropping the first set 22-25, the women rallied and won three straight sets. Throughout back and forth second and third sets, the Spartans took control and put a team effort in to win the match. Despite earning the win, injuries kept the Spartans not at full strength and adversity had to be overcome to play the final two sets without their top outside hitter, Jada Perkins. Still bothered by a shoulder injury, Quiggle decided to rest Perkins, which allowed freshman Cayla Maitlen a bigger stage. Maitlen came alive and added five kills and a block assist.

"It's hard to single out any individual player as it was a good team win where almost everyone saw playing time," said Quiggle.

The offense was balanced with Jentri Hullinger, Kailey Miracky, and Emily Williams all having seven kills; Hannah Ryan having six kills and Maitlen having five kills. Defensively, Lyann Mena led with 20 digs and Danica Sunderman and Miracky both had multiple solo blocks and block assists. The setters led the offensive attack with Ashley Porter dishing out 18 assists and Taylor Miracle with another 15 assists.

"The Spartans are continuing to work hard and will strive to continue playing to win," explained Quiggle. "Not only are we on a win streak, the girls are gelling as a team. With four more matches this week, we are focused and looking toward our next opponent."