POSEN-Mio volleyball coach Becky Smutek entered Thursday's North Star League match against Posen expecting a tough test from the Vikings, who already lost to Mio once this season.
Turns out, the Thunderbolts didn't have much to worry about.
Mio picked up two easy wins and overcame its own lackadaiscal play in third game to sweep the Vikings 3-0 at Posen High School, 25-10, 25-15 and 25-20.
The Thunderbolts improved to 8-0 in league play and with four games left, they've now got their eyes set on finishing undefeated in the North Star League two years in row.
Mio ended the first game on a eight-point run and kept up the momentum late in the second game, scoring nine of the last 10 points.
"I knew they were going to be tough. When they were down at our place the first time around, the scores were really close, just like the third one was," Smutek said.
The Thunderbolts stormed out to a 6-1 lead to open the final game and looked well on their way to another easy win, but mistakes allowed Posen to climb back into the match. A kill from Korynn Hincka tied the game at six and the two sides played to several more ties.
The difference was that Mio was able to respond in small bursts to break the ties and Posen wasn't. Hincka earned a kill late in the match to pull Posen within one, 21-20, but Mio scored the next four points to take the match.
Posen coach Erin Riopelle didn't have much to say after the match.
"I'm not happy. We just didn't have it," Riopelle said.
Hincka led Posen with six kills and six blocks; Kari Ataman had four kills and Danielle Rhode added two.
Hincka's strong play helped Posen get off to a good start in the second game as the Vikings grabbed an 8-4 lead thanks to three kills and two blocks from Hincka. After the two sides tied at 13, Mio took the lead for good, due in part to the strong defensive play of Nona Rhoads and Jalen DeFlorio in the front row.
Smutek was pleased to see her team come away with the win, despite a near letdown in the final game.
"I didn't think we would walk away in the first and second one with the points that we did. The third one, I don't like them that close, but you kind of go lax a little on your playing when you beat them by 10 or 12 points, but overall I was happy," Smutek said. "Posen usually gives us a tough game and it was a good match."