UNION, Mo. – Aside from a few errant passes in the opening stages, the Mineral Area volleyball team avoided any unexpected drama against its NJCAA Division II opponent on Wednesday.
Mariana de Carvalho collected 12 kills and seven digs, and the Cardinals applied steady pressure against the back row of East Central for a 25-15, 25-10, 25-10 victory.
Layane Lima was an efficient attacker with nine kills, and alertly saved multiple rallies with blocking coverage. Vitoria Campos spiked effectively along the right side with seven kills.
Mineral Area (11-3) established commanding leads of 14-3 in game two and 15-4 in game three behind solid execution, as numerous rallies comprised of a single pass and set.
The defense also thrived when the host Falcons looked to tip. Middle hitter Payton Roberts forced ECC to adjust its strategy after securing three of her four blocks in game one.
Sophomore setter Alandry Below finished with 15 assists and eight digs, and displayed stellar instincts to calmly settle a twisting pass in game two after nearby libero Katie Huster lunged to make the best of her nine digs.
East Central (10-6) was paced by Emma Coburn with four kills while libero Lexi Filkins turned several sliding efforts into a team-high 11 digs. Jaidyn Collins posted nine assists.
The Falcons bookended a 4-0 scoring spurt with a kill by Erin Brooks and crafty dink shot from Collins, and were square at 8-8 in the early moments before the firepower of MAC took over.
Roberts spiked off a smooth transition from Huster to Giovanna Mye, then hammered down an overpass. She added two solo blocks, and combined with Campos on another before rotating back with the margin at 17-10.
Lima made It 21-12 with her third kill. Filkins denied two blistered spikes for ECC on set point, but Roberts sent down the next chance at a snug angle.
Mye began the match with a line smash off a pass from De Carvalho, who tipped a kill on the next point and consistently beat the double blocking by consistently mixing speed and location.
She connected at 10-2 in game two after Below kept the play alive along the floor. Mye served her second ace during the next rotation, and compiled 13 assists over two games of shared setting duties.
Kyndal Dodd tipped down an overpass before Roberts rejoined the lineup for yet another block at 25-10. Lima notched two more kills to close the stanza after East Central generated a pair of impressive scrambling digs by Hannah Sullivan and Filkins in an extended rally.
Dodd chipped in a solo block after Campos rifled a swing through an open right side within a 9-2 surge to start game three. Mineral Area steadily added more players to the action from there.
Berkli Benefield delivered three kills during a single rotation across the front, and Grace Duncan redirected an ace off the net before her sliding defensive effort enabled de Carvalho to terminate for a 16-5 advantage.
The Falcons made a defiant stand by sending back two powerful attacks in a superb rally, but Mineral Area claimed that point as well on a perfect roll shot by de Carvalho from about eight feet from the net.
Amiyah Saxton had a rare chance to serve at match point, and was mobbed by happy teammates after placing the ball inside the back line for an ace.
Summer Meyer made eight digs for the Cardinals, who will host Lewis & Clark on Friday evening before playing their next six matches away from Sechrest Fieldhouse.
Brenna Moore provided three kills, and Katie Myers made seven digs for East Central.