BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
BURLINGTON – The Fort Madison Bloodhounds are getting some of their best volleyball at the right time.
The Hounds swept the pool play in the Southeast Conference tournament at Burlington on Tuesday night.
Despite a 10-18 overall record on the year, the Hounds are finding opportune wins in conference play and stand at 6-2 after dropping Fairfield 19-21, 21-14 and then needing 18 points in a 18-16 tiebreaker win.
The night got easier from there as Fort Madison downed Mt. Pleasant 21-19, 21-16 and then Washington 21-12, 21-16.
Fort Madison got off to a rough start against Fairfield losing the first game big on errors and a lackluster effort,” Head Coach Kent Bailey said.
The Hound jumped out to a 6-1 lead the second game with Jillian Wiseman getting three kills and Anna Lynk adding one. In the tiebreaker the Hounds jumped out to a 14-9 lead and had match point, but Fairfield proceeded to win the next five points to tie it at 14. Fort Madison got a sideout to go up 15-14 and eventually won a kill by Wiseman.
The senior, who finished with 74-83 hitting with 41 kills on the night, got 17 in the two-game win over the Panthers.
“The first game was tight but we steadily pulled away in the second game on the strength of good serving and limiting our hitting errors,” Bailey said.
“Against Washington we were able to substitute freely as our serving was effective in taking them out of system and creating a number of hitting errors on their side.”
Junior Lauren Bailey had 51 assists for Fort Madison on the night and was 27-28 serving with five aces. She also had 19 digs. Senior Gracie Pumphrey led the defensive effort for Fort Madison digging up 32 balls in the three games. Pumphrey also had four aces on 18-18 serving.
“Overall, it was a good start by our girls in the 2-day conference tournament. We have some things to clean up as we go to Durant on Saturday and then finish the Southeast Conference tournament at Keokuk next Tuesday.,” Bailey said.
“We’ll be looking for more consistency this weekend and working to find more ways to get kills by our hitters.”