Columbia College volleyball coach Melinda Wrye-Washington said her team finally gave her a good night’s sleep.
The Cougars defeated Illinois-Springfield 30-13, 30-16, 30-13 on Monday at the Arena of Southwell Complex, clinching the program’s 12th consecutive American Midwest Conference regular season title.
“It was nice to be this dominant against a team that can be good if you let them,” Wrye-Washington said. “We played up to our level, not down to theirs.”
The Cougars had 31 more kills and 13 more aces and blocks than the Prairie Stars. The Cougars also closed out the match with a surge, netting 18 kills with a hitting percentage of .900.
“We’re on our ‘A’ game,” senior setter Tracie Ford said. “We know what we need to do and we know not to goof off on the court.”
The surge in Game 3 stemmed from sophomore outside hitter Doris Wefwafwa’s serving. With Columbia College leading 15-9, Wefwafwa served ten straight points for the No. 4 Cougars (32-3 overall, 12-0 AMC), half of them aces. She also added 13 kills and digs in the match.
Wrye-Washington said Wefwafwa can now focus on attacking with the return of Kat Weisenborn, a junior defensive specialist.
“Our ball control is exponentially better with Kat back,” Wrye-Washington said. “Now Doris doesn’t have to worry about passing the ball from the outside and can focus on attacking. Teams were kind of taking advantage of her back there but now they can’t.”
Weisenborn played her first home match of the season Monday. Hannibal-La Grange, which the Cougars play at 7 p.m. today in Hannibal, did not see Weisenborn when the Cougars swept the Trojans on Sept. 30.
“I was excited to get back on the court,” Weisenborn said. “It was a little weird coming back, especially with Tracie (Ford) as a setter.”
Weisenborn said she has watched every game this season from the sidelines and the Cougars sweep of the Prairie Stars ranks high on her list of the team’s best matches this season.
“It was our best game against a lower team,” Weisenborn said. “It was especially important for us to dominate because we just got back from playing some of our toughest games (in the College of St. Mary Tournament) but stomped them tonight.”
The Cougars also benefited from playing a Prairie Stars team that was shorthanded, something the Cougars have been much of the season. While Illinois-Springfield suited up eight players, the Cougars were down only one player.
“Our lineup is pretty much set now,” Wrye-Washington said. “Because we have some depth we’re protected against any of our players being abused on the court.”