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MAC Volleyball

Mineral Area sophomore Jane Kickham attacks from the right side during a home match earlier this season. Kickham, an outside hitter from Springfield, Mo., was named NJCAA Division I national Player of the Week on Wednesday, hours before the Lady Cardinals swept a three-set match at MSU-West Plains.

Matt King, Daily Journal

WEST PLAINS, Mo. – Mineral Area capped a 6-0 start to game three with a stuff-block on Wednesday, and beat longtime Region 16 volleyball rival MSU-West Plains in straight sets for the first time.

Cailey Bracken spiked a team-high 14 kills while adding 10 digs, and the unbeaten Lady Cardinals prevailed 25-20, 25-21, 25-14 to continue their program-record win streak.

Setter Pam Zuluaga made 40 assists plus 10 digs, and Jane Kickham totaled 12 kills and 14 digs for 10th-ranked Mineral Area (22-0, 2-0), which lost to the Grizzlies three times last year.

Shelby Meyer provided 21 digs along with two aces, while middle hitters Raylyn Dodd and Anica Popadic each registered four solo blocks in the victory.

Melissa Avendano unleashed nine kills, and Popadic converted seven more on 12 attacks. Ainslee Finch brought up nine digs.

Mineral Area is idle until traveling to John A. Logan on Tuesday for a battle of reigning region champions.

Kickham received a major individual accolade earlier Wednesday as the NJCAA named the sophomore outside hitter its Division I national Player of the Week.

The Lady Cardinals swept region rival Jefferson last Wednesday before taking all four matches against opponents from Texas at the Hutchinson Invitational over the weekend.

Kickham established a season high with 19 kills against both Navarro and Frank Phillips, and achieved a career-best 22 digs twice against Odessa and Tyler.

She totaled 17 blocks in five matches during the week, and compiled 83 kills at a .371 hitting clip. MAC jumped three spots in the NJCAA poll from No. 13 after returning from Kansas undefeated.


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