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West nets beat Century in four

MWest vb
Minnesota West sophomore Kiana Leighty (in blue) hits over Century College's Lisa Rodriguez Monday night in Worthington. (Aaron Hagen/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- The Minnesota West volleyball team has had its share of intense matches recently.

So playing non-conference opponent Century College on Monday night was a nice change of pace.

“The season is winding down, so it’s really like, you have to go and you have to play as hard as you can,” said West’s Paetyn Smit. “It was nice, especially after a long weekend.”

The Lady Jays took care of the Wood Ducks in four games.

“We were capable of a lot more,” Smit said. “But we managed to pull it out.”

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West dominated three of the four games. Scores were 25-16, 21-25, 25-19 and 25-11.

“It was silly errors. We have to let them make the mistake, not us,” MW head coach Brittney McNab said. “These are the games I want to get all 16 in there to play and touch a ball so they can get that atmosphere and get that feel of what’s going on. But we haven’t had that chance because we don’t come out and stay on top.”

West had a quick lead in Game 1, but watched as the Wood Ducks took the second game.

“I think everyone was ready to go, everyone was excited,” Smit said. “I think the second game, some people weren’t on their feet.”

West recovered to control the third and fourth games.

“I think that we just all know how hard practice will be if we don’t play good,” Smit said. “We don’t like to lose very much.”

The West hitting prowess was on full display Monday night. Tyra Medicine Horn had a team-best 12 kills, while Smit had 10.

“I couldn’t get hits without Grace (Woelber) passing it or Emma (Woelber) setting,” Smit said. “I couldn’t do it without them. It’s nice to have a reliable back row.”

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Coralis Ramos and Kiana Leighty each had seven kills.

“They were swinging. They get complacent in tipping or trying to place the ball. And sometimes you just have to go swing because our coverage is there,” McNab said. “They swung and they definitely needed that. They needed to be aggressive after a long weekend. They are tired. But it’s good to get them games and get them on the floor.”

The first game was close early until a trio of Medicine Horn kills and a pair of hits from Smit gave West some separation. The Jays didn’t look back and closed out the win.

“I’ve been working on hitting line more and it’s been going well,” Smit said. “It’s awesome because Tyra had a great night, Coralis had a great night, Bri (Ihnen) had a great night. Everyone was hitting very good.”

Century stayed close with the Lady Jays throughout the second set and broke away from a 19-19 tie by scoring six of the last eight points.

There was no doubt in the final two games as West led 11-4 in the third set and 10-3 in the fourth.

Smit added four ace serves and two blocks, while Medicine Horn had two blocks. Leighty added three ace serves and 20 digs, while Ramos had a pair of blocks. Emma Woelber finished with three ace serves and 39 set assists, Grace Woelber had 13 digs and Ihnen had a team-high six blocks.

Minnesota West (11-5) hosts Riverland on Wednesday as the Jays are still fighting for a playoff spot.

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“We need to win,” Smit said. “If our team is all there, we have amazing passers, we have amazing setters, we have amazing hitters. If we’re all there, we’ll do just fine.”

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