Dane Pavlovich, the Stephens College volleyball coach, knew visiting Messenger College would put up a fight.
“We knew they were going to be scrappy,” Pavlovich said. “We definitely didn’t take them for granted.”
The Stars put away the Eagles 32-30, 30-9, 26-30, 30-14 on Monday night at Silverthorne Arena.
“They were a much better defensive team than the first time we played them,” Pavlovich said. “We hit a lot of hard balls at them, but they were able to pop them out.”
The Stars also needed four games to win at Messenger three weeks ago in the Stars’ season opener. Monday night was no different.
Stephens fell behind in the first game 25-20 before battling back to take a 27-26 lead.
Messenger (1-7) had two match points at 29-28 and 30-29, but they were saved with timely kills from senior Freda West and freshman Moniece Brown.
The Stars (5-8) finished the game with two kills by freshman Wendy Parsell.
“I was happy that we went to a lot of places to get kills,” Pavlovich said. “We weren’t predictable. Wendy had some great kills down the line.”
West led the Stars with 18 kills.
Stephens used the momentum from the first game to cruise through the second.
“For the first time you could see it in our eyes that we were really focused,” Pavlovich said.
Messenger refused to go quietly, though, matching Stephens point for point in the third game.
The Stars were up 20-19, when Messenger went on a 6-0 run to force a fourth game.
“As focused as we were at the end of Game 1, there was that much of a lack of focus in Game 3,” Pavlovich said.
“We got to close the deal,” he told his players before the fourth game.
The Stars ensured that there would be no decisive fifth game by jumping out to an 11-5 lead in the fourth game. They pushed the lead to 25-11 and didn’t let up.
Stephens’ five wins are three more than the team had last season.
Stephens has a week of practice before Saturday’s match against St. Louis College of Pharmacy, who narrowly defeated the Stars a week ago.