Returning home for the first time since Sept. 18, the East Central College volleyball Falcons swept Rend Lake Friday, 25-18, 25-12, 25-16.

“On Friday I was happy how the match went since we had a random injury that prevented one of our starters from playing,” East Central Head Coach Lisa Mathes-Peters said.

That starter, Grace Struttmann (St. Francis Borgia Regional) also missed the Falcons’ Monday home match against the Missouri Baptist University JV.

East Central (11-8, 0-3) stays home to host MCCAC and NJCAA Division II Region 16 rival St. Louis Community College next Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. The Falcons fell to the Archers in St. Louis Sept. 25 in three games.

Without Struttmann, the Falcons had to modify the lineup.

“We moved a player into the lineup for blocking purposes, which went well for that part of the game,” Mathes-Peters said.

The coach felt the defense and setting were the strong points for her team against Rend Lake.

“I felt our setters set one of their better games this past Friday in regards to where they put the ball,” said Mathes-Peters. “Our back row did a good job communicating with each other, and even though it was not perfect passing we were better at putting ourselves in a good position to hit the ball and played smart when out of system.”

Kaley Roper (Bloomfield) paced the defense with 29 digs. Mariah Vahlkamp (Carlyle, Ill.) was next with 13 digs.

Aurora Pututau (Hunter, West Valley City, Utah) contributed nine digs. Raylee Metcalf (Advance) ended with eight, Nicole Roper (Bloomfield) had six, Allison Tonioli (Warrenton) chipped in with five and Macy Morehead (Saxony Lutheran) picked up four.

Kilisitina Lutui (Riverton, Utah) added three digs while Samantha Staab (Mount Vernon) had two and Daeshia Ross (Chester Nimitz, Houston, Texas) and Lilly Warrick (Bloomfield) had one dig apiece.

“Kaley Roper and Mariah Vahlkamp were very steady in the back row the whole match and when we struggled they stayed up and showed leadership, which is what our captains need to do each match,” Mathes-Peters said. “They kept their heads and helped others settle when we had a struggle during a rotation.”

The setters were led by Nicole Roper, who had 16 assists. Pututau was next with 13 and Kaley Roper added two assists.

Ross was the top blocker with one solo block and five block assists. Vahlkamp had four block assists.

Staab posted one solo block and one block assist. Morehead ended with one solo block. Tonioli and Lutui each had one block assist.

Warrick served two aces. Tonioli and Kaley Roper each had one.

While Struttmann was expected to be out through at least Monday, the team got good news on another player’s injury. Makalya Byrd (Central Medical Magnet, Beaumont, Texas) was able to return for Monday’s match after a lengthy spell on the injured list.