BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Two weeks ago the Lady Hounds volleyball team was just getting started. And now two weeks later, they find themselves atop the Southeast Conference at 2-0.
Fort Madison knocked off Mt. Pleasant on Tuesday night in four sets and then tripped up Fairfield in four sets Thursday at the Hound Dome 27-25, 13-25, 25-15, 25-16.
“We’re starting to catch up. That two weeks was tough on our kids mentally, emotionally, physically, and took a couple weeks to get our legs under us,” Bailey said.
Fort Madison (2-5 overall) eeked out a tiebreaker in the first set and then crumbled in the second without being able to get into their system up front.
After making some adjustments after game two, the Hounds outside hitters came alive and middle blocks gave the ball handlers, led by senior Lauren Bailey a chance to pick up some attacks and get the offense going.
“In those last two games, what gave us the momentum and the opportunity was our two middle hitters did a great job getting blocks and handling the ball with Lauren and Alaina (Simpson) on the right side, and that turned the tide a bit.”
Up 2 sets to 1, Fairfield jumped out to an early lead in the fourth going up 4-7 on an ace by sophomore Maggie Rayburn. Fairfield would get called with a double hit at the net on the next point for the sideout. The Trojans would win the next point on defensive error, but were called for improper rotation giving the point and the ball back to Fort Madison at 6-7.
The two would trade points until a Trojan error knotted the set at 9. Simpson would get a big kill from the right side to give the Hounds a 10-9 lead they would never give up.
Fort Madison went on a 10-0 run forcing Fairfield to call a time out at 20-9 to stop the Hound momentum. The Trojans came out with four quick attacks, two of which went long, and Fort Madison held a 21-11 lead.
Fairfield would hang on for 5-0 run to try and get back in the game with Fort Madison having match point each time, but a Fairfield attack went wide left at 24-11 to end the night.
“Once we got blocks and we could get in system, that meant our setters could get up by the net and get good assists and our hitters could hit well. The problem we ran into is they were taking the ball too far back,” Bailey said.
He said starting the conference strong is a good sign considering the start of the year.
“I think our kids are fully capable and it’s nice to be at 2-0,” Bailey said. “Fairfield is always tough. They battle and it’s good to come out with a win.”
Reyna Lampe had 32 assists on the night. Nadia Boeding dug out 23 balls from the back side. Lauren Bailey had 20 digs and Madison Pirri had 16.
At the net, Kailyn Guzman had 10 kills on 15 attempts and a couple of blocks. Simpson and Logan Johnson each had seven kills, and Lampe had six. Bailey was a perfect 28-28 serving with five aces.
The junior varsity lost in three sets 26-24, 21-25, 8-15.
Delaney Walker served 8-8, with 11 assists. Hattie Schrepfer served 8-9, with two kills, McKenna Cashman served 15-15 and had a kill to lead the Hounds.