LENOX – Interstate 35 dropped three straight sets to Lenox Thursday night to fall to 0-4 this season.
The Roadrunners fell behind almost instantly on three straight aces off the serve of Lenox’s Lauren Christensen to give the Tigers an early lead at 3-0.
The aces were the start of what was a 13-3 run for the Tigers before I-35 found its footing and started to give Lenox some push back.
A four-point run for the Roadrunners to make it 17-10 was cancelled out by the Tigers, who put up four straight of their own, making it 21-10.
A frustrated I-35 team was not able to overcome the deficit in Set 1, falling by a 25-12 score.
The hot start wasn’t repeated by Lenox in the second set as I-35 battled with the Tigers early, at one point taking the lead before Lenox scored four points.
I-35 erased a four-point deficit on an 8-2 run where the Roadrunners had a 12-10 lead.
The two-point lead was erased by Lenox, but I-35 pushed the difference to three before Lenox erased it and gave itself a four-point cushion at 18-16.
I-35 fought to pull it to a one-point game, getting awarded an extra point due to Lenox’s libero Kayla Yzaguirre being out of rotation, to make it 22-21.
Lenox was able to bury the set in a 25-22 win, moving onto the decisive third set with a 2-0 lead.
A resurgent and resilient Lenox team pushed back against Interstate 35, showing the Roadrunners the previous results and stats didn’t reflect what the team could do.
“We were expecting this Lenox team to be up to our par and I think we saw that,” said Roadrunners head coach Nicole Vogt. “They have (TJ Stoaks) who’s a killer hitter in the front row and back row. We definitely adapted to that on our side, but definitely didn’t expect today’s team to show up.”
The Tigers entered the third set similar to how they started the game, beginning with early points before running off with a wide margin.
The Tigers took a 9-8 lead before going on an 8-2 run to make it 17-10. I-35 answered with a 7-1 string to even it up at 18 all.
“That third set, we struggled a little bit,” said Cox. “Everyone I figured felt confident and felt the need to pound the ball into the ground and started hitting the back wall (of the gym). We did enough to get the sweep and not make it go any further. Bad things can happen then.”
The Tigers held the Roadrunners to three points over the next few serves, evening it up twice at 20-20 and 21-21 before ending the game on four consecutive points to take the third and decisive set 25-21.
The Roadrunners struggled on the road in a loud Lenox gym that left those on the floor communicating poorly.
“Sometimes (it’s) that lack of communication. It gets so loud in there that the girls think they hear each other when they talk when they say things,” said Vogt. “When we stop talking, it all just sort of breaks down and it just leads to the girls getting inside their own head. That’s something we’ve been working on doing and getting out of.”
Tigers co-head coach Jesse Cox and his team were a little familiar with I-35, and expected a close battle between the two entering Thursday’s match.
“We scrimmaged them at the Waukee tournament and it was pretty close, I knew it was going to be a tough battle for us,” said Cox.
The Roadrunners were led in kills by Ainsley Maske with five. She had 29 attack attempts, the most of the nine players who saw floor time for I-35.
Paige Palmer led in digs with nine and also went 11 of 11 on serve attempts. Summer Pasutti had seven digs and Maske had six digs.
Reanna Hubbard had four kills and swatted four shots for Interstate 35.
UP NEXT – The Roadrunners will head to Chariton Saturday for a weekend tournament. The first match of the tournament begins at 9 a.m.