Down a set against Rock Island, the Moline volleyball team knew it was time to kick into gear.
If the Maroons wanted to win another Western Big Six Conference title, they would have to rally against a Rock Island team that was dominating the action in the first set.
Thanks to senior leadership and terrific play from junior Audrey Lamphier, Moline did indeed rally for an 18-25, 25-18, 25-18 win at the Rock Island Fieldhouse on Tuesday.
The Maroons (15-5, 10-2 WB6) now stand a half game behind 11-2 Geneseo and a game ahead of 8-2 Sterling.
"Rock Island was really scrappy and low error in that first set and it just came down to our mentality," Moline coach Sarah Fetter said. "There was definitely a sense of urgency after that first set. We had to make a mental shift."
The Rocks (11-12, 5-8) played one of their best sets of the season in the first, making all the plays and keeping the Maroons out of sync.
"That was certainly a good step for our program in that first set," RI coach Jacqueline Twing said. "We were very good. Our serve was very aggressive and we kept them away from getting anything set up. We let Moline get comfortable in the second set."
That minute or so between sets is when the Maroons started to think about how big the next two sets would be.
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"It really just came down to us wanting it for us," senior co-captain Maddie Peterson said. "Those last two sets were focused on us and not at all on Rock Island. Rocky is really good, but we had to do the same thing we did against Geneseo (on Saturday) and just play for us."
That's when senior Kamara Dickerson (11 kills, three blocks) and Lamphier (five kills, six blocks) started to take charge at the net.
The Maroons jumped out to 10-3 and 20-10 leads before the Rocks made it close at 22-18 before Dickerson scored two points in a row to cap off the win.
"We just had to get back together and finish to force the third set," Fetter said.
In the third, Lamphier started off on fire, scoring three straight times on blocks to send the Maroons out to a 6-0 start.
"We were not playing as a team and Rocky was playing really well to start the game," Lamphier said. "Once we got into our system, we were able to score at the net. I try to watch the player hitting and follow their hand. Part of it is that and part is the ball just hitting my hand and jumping at the right time.
"Once we won the second set, I felt like we were back where we want to be."
The Rocks again fell well back in that third set but they refused to quit. They cut the lead to 22-18 before Dickerson scored on a kill and a block and the Maroons held on for the win.
"I am very proud of our girls," Twing said. "We showed resiliency and they never gave up. They hurt us with their block and that was the big thing."
Emily Allison led the Rocks with five kills and four aces.