Doing exactly what they came in looking to do, the Moline Maroons swept both United Township and Alleman in a Western Big Six volleyball triangular at Don Morris Gym.
The wins give the Maroons a 22-game Big Six winning streak, but that streak and those wins just may have been overshadowed a bit by another streak. This was one that was broken when the Panthers beat the Pioneers 25-22, 25-18 in the opening match to win a Big Six game for the first time since 2016.
"We are continuing to grow as a program and trying to build confidence both personally and as a team," UT coach Jillian VanOpdorp said. "We need to believe in us."
Moline defeated UT 25-10, 25-21 and Alleman 25-13, 25-18 to improve to 5-2, 3-0 in the Western Big Six. UT is now 1-4, 1-2 and Alleman drops to 0-5, 0-3.
"Our focus was to come in here and focus on us and how we play," Moline coach Sarah Fetter said. "We made a lot of errors but we got the two wins, and I thought we did a good job of figure out their styles and play to what we could do."
The end of the streak: UT fell behind early in Set 1, trailing 11-6, but instead of crumbling as they have done so often in losing their previous 21 conference matches, the Panthers got it together and won.
"We just kept going and playing," VanOpdorp said. "We are trying to change our focus. We used to come into Big Six games expecting to lose. Now we are trying to take the mentality we could win."
Jade Hunter and Allison Mirimanian had seven kills apiece and Hunter added three blocks. Kyra Schumaker had 19 digs in the game. Schumaker started the second set on a 10-0 service run, but the Pioneers got back in the game and cut the lead to four before falling late.
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"That's what we have to fix," VanOpdorp said. "We have to finish games. We have the leaders who will get us there to keep fighting with the lead."
Added Alleman coach Andrea Larsen, "We were down 0-10 and got it close, and that for me is a good day. We are seeing the fight we want to see, and we are getting better. We have leaders who won't let this team quit."
Potter with the assist: The Maroons jumped on UT early in Set 1 but struggled a bit in the second set before finishing off the Panthers.
It was similar against Alleman, but Moline again got the sweep with a huge assist and a bunch of them as well from setter Sophia Potter. The junior had 37 assists in the two wins, sharing the wealth with everyone who played on the front line.
"I just look to who has the best matchup and set it to them," Potter said. "We have so many weapons it is so much fun. The really important thing is all of them can exterminate the ball. Sometimes I trick myself on sets but most of the time I have an idea ahead of time where I'm going with the ball."
Kamara Dickerson led the Maroons with nine kills and Ella Ramsay had eight.
"Sophia does a tremendous job distributing the ball," Fetter said. "It is a nice problem to have so many weapons up front and they can all play all over the court."