The Grinnell College volleyball team knocked off preseason Midwest Conference favorite Monmouth College in four sets during a Senior Night contest Friday night at Darby Gymnasium.
Scores, in favor of Grinnell, were 19-25, 25-10, 25-15 and 30-28.
With the win, Grinnell extended its winning streak to three matches while taking a big step toward qualifying for the MWC postseason tourney by improving its mark to 5-2 in league play. Grinnell moved to 7-13 overall. Monmouth dipped to 6-2 in the MWC and 9-11 in all matches.
Michelle Briggs ’13 (pictured) had a match-high 14 kills for Grinnell while hitting at a blistering .400 efficiency clip. She also had six blocks.
Gillian Dryjanski ’12 added 10 kills and hit .364 as Grinnell won the hitting efficiency battle .284-.144. Olivia Wilks ’12 added 37 assists and 10 digs, Kate Duran ’12 contributed 14 digs and three aces and Bonnie Kircher ’12 pounded down seven kills.
Monmouth led the entire first set en route to victory.
Grinnell got out to a 10-5 lead in the second set before delivering a key 9-1 run to pull away. Duran served six points in that span and the Pioneers never looked back while tying the match at one set apiece.
The Pioneers worked their way to an 11-8 lead in the third set before another big run helped them pull away, this time a 12-4 spurt. Duran served four of those points and Dryjanski had two kills.
The fourth set saw Grinnell lead early before Monmouth charged back to force several ties. The contest was knotted down the stretch at 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28 before a service error by Monmouth put Grinnell at set, and match, point. That’s when Briggs delivered the decisive blow, a kill off Wilks’ assist, to send the Pioneers and their fans into celebration.
Grinnell concludes the home portion of its 2011 schedule Saturday with a pair of matches. The Pioneers take on Illinois College at 11 a.m. in a MWC contest at Darby Gymnasium, and then meet Buena Vista University of the Iowa Conference at 3 p.m.