Special to the Herald
The Clinton Herald
---- — CEDAR RAPIDS – The Ashford University volleyball team remained undefeated to open the 2013 season Saturday.
Returning to the floor inside the Hennessey Recreation Center, Ashford swept Dakota Wesleyan 25-18, 25-19, 25-17 before bouncing Peru State University 25-19, 19-25, 25-14, 25-11. The team was competing in Mount Mercy’s Zio Johno’s Mustang Invitational.
The Saints moved to 4-0 with the pair of wins after beating Mayville State and Waldorf on Friday.
“It’s nice to start off 4-0, good start to our season,” coach Micah Cewe said. “We played a lot of different lineups this weekend and saw good things, but saw some things we need to work on this week in practice also.”
The Saints bested Dakota Wesleyan in straight sets behind 10 kills from freshman Pakalana Helekahi of Pakalana, Hawaii. Victoria Day chipped in six kills, while junior Sarah Garvick paced the team with 16 digs.
Newcomer Kristen Kotch put down a team-high eight kills against Peru State while Danielle Tombolato of Berwyn, Ill., added seven.
Sophomore setter Danielle Rzewnicki handed out 29 assists throughout the pair of contests.
Defensively, the Saints blocked 23 shots combined between the two outings, including six from Tombolato, 4 1/2 from Kotch and four by junior middle hitter Morgan Martells.
“Morgan (Martells) and Danielle (Tombolato) blocked well this weekend and are a huge defensive force for us this season,” Cewe said. “While their offense may not always be on, their defense has been so far this season. It really drives us; a good defense leads to a great offense.”
The Saints visit Daytona Beach, Fla. on Friday when the team opens competition in the Embry-Riddle Labor Day Tournament. Ashford battles Southern University-New Orleans at 8:30 a.m. (CDT) before lining up against Montana State University-Northern at 3:30 p.m. (CDT).