LEWISTON, Idaho – The Lewis-Clark State College volleyball team played one of their most controlled and consistent matches to date on Saturday, dismantling Rocky Mountain College in a 3-1 triumph in the Activity Center.
It was the final regular season home match for the Warriors (14-8 overall, 10-3 Frontier Conference) who will wrap their conference slate on the road next weekend at Montana Western and Carroll.
Treneisha Doyle returned to form after an injury-plagued few weeks by pounding home 18 kills against just five errors for a .419 hitting percentage to lead the Warriors offensively.
Niurka Toribio was right behind with 15 kills and three errors for a .316 clip, and changed the complexion of the match from the service line.
Toribio had eight service aces on Saturday, matching the top total anywhere in the Frontier Conference in 2012. Most importantly, those aces came in big spots.
With the Warriors eyeing a sweep in the fourth set, Rocky Mountain went on a 4-0 run to take a 21-17 lead. After a kill by the emerging Willow Markowitz made it three-point game, Toribio confounded the Battlin’ Bears on four consecutive serves, giving the LCSC a 22-21 lead in the blink of an eye.
“It helps tremendously because she has so many different types of serves that she can go to. Teams don’t know what she’s going to bring. It helps us get momentum back when we really need it,” Warrior coach LaToya Harris said of Toribio, who know is second in the Frontier Conference with 44 aces on the season.
It should be noted that league leader Ashley Marchant of Westminster had 45 aces on over twice as many service attempts as Toribio.
Rocky Mountain (11-17 overall, 6-8 Frontier Conference) wound up winning that third set 26-24 despite Toribio’s serving exploits, but the Warriors came back to win the fourth set 25-17 and clinch the match.
Harris and the Warriors respected the Bears blocking ability coming into the match, and though Rocky Mountain stuffed nine shots on Saturday, LCSC used their quickness and balanced offense to get around the block.
“We used our speed and kept our offensive quick,” Harris said.
Markowitz played in all four sets on Saturday and came up with 17 kills on a .353 hitting percentage, and was a clear beneficiary of a system change enacted by Harris this week that has Nevena Dragovic and Naomi Hernandez operating in a dual-setter role.
“We recruited Willow as an outside hitter, but she’s at home on the right side,” Harris said. “She’s a strong, powerful freshman and it’s been exciting to see her develop.”
With just two matches left in the regular season, the Warriors might have finally hit on being able to translate practice success into games.
“They’re focused and being coachable,” Harris said of her team. “It’s a big step forward for us.”