BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON – A first-set loss was enough to wake Fort Madison High School’s volleyball team out of an early slumber.
Jillian Wiseman’s kills kept the Bloodhounds awake.
Fort Madison advanced in the Class 4A regional tournament with a 23-25, 25-7, 25-22, 25-23 win in Wednesday’s first-round match.
The Bloodhounds (15-23) will play at Burlington (24-5) in Tuesday’s 7 p.m. semifinal.
It was a sloppy first set for the Bloodhounds.
“We missed five serves, we had about five hitting errors, and it got away from us,” Fort Madison coach Kent Bailey said. “I give Keokuk credit. They kept putting the ball in play, and we kept trying to hit it harder instead of hit it smarter.
“It woke us up a little bit. We had to fight a little bit harder.”
The second set was all about the Bloodhounds. They built a 14-6 lead, then after a block by Keokuk’s Michenna Davis, scored the final 11 points of the set.
Fort Madison seemed in control of the third set. The Bloodhounds led 23-16, but the Chiefs (9-19) scored six consecutive points to gain momentum. But a kill from Fort Madison’s Reyna Lampe ended the run, then the Bloodhounds served out the set.
Keokuk made similar runs in the fourth set. Fort Madison led 19-8 before the Chiefs scored six consecutive points, then later in the set Keokuk scored seven of the next eight points to get to within 22-21. But Wiseman and Lampe had back-to-back kills to get to match point. The Chiefs scored the next two points, then Lampe finished the match with her ninth kill of the night.
“Give Keokuk credit,” Bailey said. “They made us work.”
Wiseman led the Bloodhounds with 24 kills.
“She’s one of the best hitters in southeast Iowa,” Bailey said. “She’s pretty good. She’s got the ability to hit the ball on the outside as well as anyone we’ve had here in a while. She’s 5-foot-11 and she’s got jumping ability, and she puts that on display.”
The Bloodhounds are 0-3 against Burlington this season.
“When we’re playing well, we don’t have a lot of hitting errors and we pass the ball well,” Bailey said. “We did a pretty good job of that tonight, and if we can get the ball to Jillian in her spots, we can do good things.”