One again, McKenna and McKenzie Omoruyi towered over the Kellis girls volleyball team on its home court.
This time around, though, Ironwood volleyball's twin titans were not content on overwhelming the Cougars with sheer power. There was plenty of that on display as the twins each finished with 12 kills in the three-set match - the rest of the Eagles combined for 11 kills.
But the Omoruyis combined for 11 digs, and some of those kills were on tips rather than powerful attacks. McKenna finished the 25-17, 25-19, 25-19 victory Oct. 15 by serving two straight aces.
"They've grown tremendously. They were new to the team and to the state as sophomores. They've become leaders," Ironwood coach Lisa Lopez said. "They're playing very smart and not trying to crush the ball all the time. They've improved tremendously."
For its part, Kellis improved its defensive coverage in the last two sets after McKenna Omoruyi hit seven kills in the first set and McKenna Omoruyi added six.
While the Cougars were tougher to score upon, they had a match-long problem finishing points. Other than senior outside hitter Kylie Jeffries (six kills) and occasional explosive attacks by senior outside hitter Marissa Cintron (five kills).
"I thought we created situations we wanted. We just have to execute and be smarter in tighter situations," Kellis coach David Thistle said. "You can put yourself in a position to play but then you have to score."
The win moved Ironwood to No. 14 in the 5A rankings on Oct. 16. Last year the Eagles claimed the No. 15 seed and won a play-in game to advance to the playoffs.
With senior liberos Christina Lopez and Mallory Rich, senior setter Cori Vaquera and senior middle blocker Myia Williams back plus the Omoruyi twins, much is expected this season.
"They have helped me build the culture of the program. Mallory and Christina have been on varsity since they were freshmen," Lopez said. "They are all playing their own role."
These seniors also are mentoring the other half of the Ironwood roster, which is very young.
Junior opposite Genesis Hinojos, junior middle Mariah Hall, sophomore Maddie Hidalgo and freshman outside hitter Victoria White are all new to the varsity and regulars in the rotation.
"Victoria started out very nervous but she's getting comfortable. The older ones are bringing her along the way," Lopez said.
The loss dropped Kellis to 1-6 in this shortened season and to No. 25 in the 5A rankings. Three matches against lower-ranked teams are coming in the next two weeks.
Wins could boost the COugars into the play-in round for teams ranked 9 to 24. But Thistle has a more over-arching goal for his team the rest of this shortened season.
"I want this group to win. I like this group, they're competitive and work extremely hard," Thistle said. "We're very undersized so we have to do a little things well. We can compete, but we need to believe that."