Hutchinson, Kansas -- Indian Hills lost a heartbreaker in its first match, came back for a win the following day, then was knocked out of the national tournament by Odessa (Tex.), putting an end to a season that produced the second-most wins in the past 14 years.
The Warriors, the number-six seed, opened up against 11-seed Otero, a team they had defeated 3-2 back on Aug. 31. IHCC was one set away from staying in the winner's bracket, but, after taking a 2-1 lead, lost the next two sets, 26-24 and 15-13. After dropping the opening set, 25-23, the Warriors stormed back to win a marathon second set, 32-30, and the third, 25-15. But they couldn't maintain the momentum. The loss snapped Indian Hills' 17-match winning streak.
Mariana Rodrigues, who ended the tourney as the program's career leader in kills, started off with a team-high 24. IHCC had a season-best 69 kills in the victory. Iva Vranic added 14 kills, Thayna Birimba 13 and Nikoleta Kandic 10. Cassia Lemos provided 62 assists. And the Warriors were credited with 66 digs, led by Amanda Toyota with 14, Rodrigues with 13 and Suzana Andrade 12. Vranic also had five blocks, Birimba pounded six ace serves and Gabriela Cavalcante three aces.
Next up was #14 seed Hill (Tex.) with the Warriors needing a win to stay alive. They got it, winning 25-16, 18-25, 25-19, 25-18. IHCC had a stong match at the net with 59 kills. Five players had 10 or more, led by Rodrigues's 16. Vranic and Cavalcante chipped in 11 apiece, and Kandic and Birimba had 10 each. Toyota led with 20 digs and Lemos had 50 assists.
The Warriors then faced 7th-seeded Odessa (Tex.) and lost in straight sets, 25-18, 25-13, 25-22. Birimba's seven kills led the offense, Lemos had 24 assists and 14 digs, Kandic had two aces and Vranic three blocks.
Rodrigues ended the year with 553 kills, giving her 1090 for her career, tops in IHCC history. Lemos's 1810 assists were just 21 away from a single-season record.
Indian Hills had nine sophomores who saw their careers end at the tournament. They were part of a team that finished 2019 36-5 and made the first trip to a volleyball national tourney in 14 years.