PARK HILLS – The Mineral Area volleyball team breezed past Rend Lake during its last of four matches in the Hub’s Pub Cardinal Classic to maintain a perfect record on Saturday.
Anica Popadic sent nine kills to the floor on just 12 attacks to lead a productive offense as the Lady Cardinals rolled 25-12, 25-3, 25-14.
Amy Leftridge filled in for resting setter Pam Zuluaga to post 22 assists and seven digs. Melissa Avendano contributed seven assists.
Mineral Area (29-0) will test its undefeated campaign next against Region 16 rival MSU-West Plains on Wednesday before hosting Vincennes in a quick turnaround on Thursday.
The Lady Cardinals spawned a dominant 15-0 stretch to close out the lopsided second game. Cailey Bracken, who finished with eight kills and six digs, joined Popadic in the dominant hitting effort.
Ainslee Finch served during the extensive scoring run, and notched 14 digs with two aces. Shelby Meyer led in digs with 19.
Raylyn Dodd protected the net early for MAC to tally four blocks plus three kills. Jane Kickham led the attack during the first set, and recorded one of her six kills on game point.
Outside hitter Randi Smith posted three blocks with four kills during an improved defensive third set for Rend Lake.
Taylor Tamazolli contributed three kills for the Lady Warriors while Danielle Sites led with eight assists and six digs.
Megan Blair and Emily Eaton each ended with three digs for the Lady Cardinals, and pounded the ball during the closing moments of the contest.
Freshman Melissa Avendano constantly pressured Lake Land to notch 13 kills on 19 swings for Mineral Area in a 25-14, 25-11, 25-12 triumph earlier on Saturday.
Mineral Area put away Lake Land with proficient attack throughout the contest as sophomore setter Pam Zuluaga seemed to effortlessly place the ball for her array of hitters. Zuluaga recorded 43 assists and eight digs.
Cailey Bracken posted a team-high nine kills for the Lady Cardinals, while Raylyn Dodd contributed eight more. Jane Kickham and Anica Popadic each added six kills with three blocks.
Mineral Area totaled eight blocks to stifle the Lady Lakers during the first two sets. Ryann Ambrose and Deidra Schaal led Lake Land with three kills, but struggled to hit through defensive hands.
Lake Land battled hard through the early portion of the third set, forging seven tied scores with improved hitting and fewer miscues.
However, Zuluaga served an ace to break the final tie and regain a 9-8 lead. Mineral Area advanced on a 6-0 run moments later to hold a 19-10 advantage.
The Lady Cardinals generated nine straight points during the second set behind the powerful attacking of Bracken and Avendano.
Shelby Meyer paced all players with 19 digs for 8th-ranked Mineral Area. Ainslee Finch and Bracken each added eight.
Claudia Watson tallied 10 digs for Lake Land while Alexandra Beckers and Kelcie Darnell each had five. Emily Watson and Beckers notched seven assists apiece.
Mineral Area opened the two-day event on Friday by defeating McHenry County (Ill.) 25-20, 25-21, 25-9 and Butler (Kan.) 25-21, 25-16, 25-19.