Mattoon, Illinois -- Indian Hills swept both of its matches in Saturday's district tournament and qualified for its first national tournament appearance since 2005. The Warriors first defeated Lake Land CC and then Missouri State-West Plains by identical 3-0 scores to up their winning streak to 17 and earn a spot in the national tourney in Hutchinson, Kansas.
The Warriors cleared their first district hurdle by beating the host school, Lake Land, 25-13, 25-15, 25-18. Mariana Rodrigues, who earlier in the week was named the conference Player of the Year, led IHCC at the net with 12 kills and she also supplied nine digs. Ana Nunes contributed 10 kills, Nikoleta Kandic had 11 digs and Amanda Toyota had nine. Cassia Lemos, named to the all-region team along with Rodrigues and Toyota, piled up 43 assists as the Warriors moved on to the district title match.
There, they faced Missouri State-West Plains for the fifth time this fall and made it a clean sweep over the Grizzlies, winning 25-22, 25-21, 25-18 to improve to 35-3 overall and gain the 3rd national tourney trip in program history. Rodrigues had 15 more kills, Thayna Birimba and Iva Vranic 11 each as the Warriors hit .357 as a team. Lemos recorded another 50 assists to go along with 10 digs. Toyota paced IHCC with 14 digs and Rodrigues had a dozen digs and two ace serves.
After recording 27 kills in the two district matches, Rodrigues is now the IHCC career leader in kills with 1045. She passed Karie Downing, Philister Sang and Ana Maira Charun, the only other Warriors with more than 1000 kills for their career.
The Warriors will take their 17-match winning streak to the tourney in Kansas. They have lost only six sets in those 17 victories. Indian Hills began the season with 16 wins in a row while losing only seven sets. For the season, they have played 130 sets and won 107.
The tournament at the Sports Arena in Hutchinson begins Nov. 21.