November 8, 2014

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

MATTOON - Two amazing rallies in the third and fourth sets, erasing eight- and seven-point deficits enabled the John A. Logan College volleyball team to defeat Marshalltown, Iowa Saturday (25-18, 25-27, 25-21, 25-23) and advance to the championship round of the District D Tournament at Lake Land College in Mattoon today. The win was Logan's second over the Iowa team in consecutive days.

Earlier in the day, the Volunteers (24-9) eliminated Great Rivers Athletic Conference rival, Kaskaskia, in four sets (25-17, 25-20, 23-25, 25-19).

Sophomore outside hitter Audrey Vaughn of Murphysboro led Logan in kills over the two matches with 22. Freshman outside hitter Carly Callahan of Carterville followed with 18. Freshman middle hitter Kierra Nolan of Murphysboro notched 15 kills and sophomore middle hitter Morgan Corn of Benton and sophomore rightside hitter Lauren Person added 14.

Nolan was tops in blocks with 18. Corn followed with 11 blocks, while Person added five. Sophomore defensive specialist Erin Dodd of Marion led the team in digs with 46. Sophomore setter Megan Martin recorded 58 assists. Callahan and Martin each accounted for three service aces.

Vols head coach Bill Burnside was impressed with his team's performance.

"I am so proud of the girls. I thought we played very well today, maybe as well as we have played all season. We showed great poise to battle back like we did after falling behind," he said. "Marshalltown played us much tougher today than they did yesterday. They were much scrappier and more aggressive, which resulted in a much tougher match."

Person, enjoying perhaps her finest all-around performance as a Vol, said she was glad she could contribute to the two victories.

"I was dealing with a lot of adrenaline and nervousness at the same time out there today, but I felt like I was really on my game," she said. "I've gotten stronger as the season has progressed. As for the team, I think we have exceeded expectations in this tournament. Hopefully, we can pull a surprise or two Sunday."

Dodd felt similarly.

"I'm proud of the way we played here today," she said. "We never gave up, even when we were behind eight points in the third set against Marshalltown and then seven points in the fourth set. Our comeback was point by point. We showed a lot of heart."

Dodd added that the Vols are a late-blooming team.

"We had a rough start at the beginning of the season," she said. "I guess we had to wait til Districts to show people what we could do. Today, our blocks were on. Our digs were on. Our sets and kills were on. Everything."

The Vols will face Indian Hills, Iowa at noon today for the right to play top-seeded Iowa Western (41-1) in the championship match.