MAC Volleyball

Mineral Area freshman Ainslee Finch passes from the back row during a home volleyball match against the McKendree junior varsity last Tuesday. The Lady Cardinals improved to 9-0 over the weekend by sweeping four opponents at the Lincoln Land Invitational.

Matt King, Daily Journal

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The first of four matches at the Lincoln Land Invitational provided the strongest challenge for the Mineral Area volleyball team last weekend.

The Lady Cardinals utilized a season-high 17 kills and 12 digs from Cailey Bracken to emerge past the host squad 25-23, 23-25, 25-20, 25-23 on Friday.

Sophomore setter Pam Zuluaga totaled 42 assists and 13 digs while mixing in six kills. Jane Kickham provided nine kills and 12 digs.

Shelby Meyer served three aces and brought up 10 digs, while Ainslee Finch added nine digs in the victory. Anica Popadic had four blocks with six kills, and Emily Eaton knocked down eight kills.

Melissa Avendano spiked nine kills and Kickham connected for eight more later Friday for Mineral Area in a leisurely 25-17, 25-18, 25-12 triumph over Lake Land.

Meyer was especially busy at libero with 30 digs, and Zuluaga compiled 23 assists, nine digs and two aces. Amy Leftridge saw increased action at setter with 10 assists.

Raylyn Dodd planted seven kills and Isidora Stojovic equaled Popadic with five apiece for the Lady Cardinals. Bracken produced eight digs.

Kickham recorded a team-high 11 kills along with 11 digs on Saturday morning as MAC returned to dominate Kankakee 25-12, 25-15, 25-7.

Avendano chipped in eight kills while Eaton and Dodd tallied seven each. Popadic contributed three solo blocks.

Zuluaga served four aces and made 29 assists plus nine digs for the Lady Cardinals. Meyer finished with 17 digs.

Eaton and Kickham sent down eight kills apiece as tournament action concluded with a 25-11, 25-12, 25-15 victory over Lewis & Clark.

Bracken made 12 digs and matched Dodd with seven kills after primarily playing defense in two previous contests. Zuluaga had 30 assists and three aces.

Meyer ended with 20 assists, and Stojovic posted 13 more during a single game.

Mineral Area (9-0), ranked 20th in the nation, will host the Missouri Baptist junior varsity on Tuesday.

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