BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Everybody gets a chance to play in front of the home crowd.
At Tuesday’s Southeast Conference tilt with Washington at the HoundDome, Fort Madison Head Coach Kent Bailey pulled his starting rotation after the Hounds jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead over the Demons.
“You know. people might ask why I did that, but those kids work just as hard as the other kids and this was an opportunity to see what they could do,” Bailey said.
The Hounds would end up winning the match in four sets 25-7, 25-13, 19-25 and 25-17.
With the match seemingly in hand, Bailey subbed in to start the 3rd set and the Hounds raced to a 10-6 lead behind a couple kills from junior Genevieve Ruble and solid serving from Taylor Barnes.
Washington (0-5, 0-12) would tie things up at 11 when when a Hound attack went long and right. Washington would take it’s first lead of the night on an ace by senior Taylor Brinning.
The Hounds would hang around down by 1 and 2 points until Washington opened up a six-point lead on a kill by senior Olivia Marek to make it 24-18. Another kill by sophomore Kenializ Espinoza ended the match 25-19.
Bailey said the girls were doing some good things, but then got flat when they got behind.
“They did some good things and a couple things went bad and they let that get way,” he said. “But that’s happened with all our players at different times. They didn’t show what they’re capable of and we know that.”
Fort Madison rolled in the first two sets behind junior Logan Johnson and Kailyn Guzman at the net. The two combined for seven kills in the first set, while Lauren Bailey was a perfect 7 of 7 serving to start the second game staking the Hounds to 6-0 lead.
Senior Reyna Lampe hit on back-to-back kills to make 21-10 in the second set and then a Washington defensive error and an attack from Marek sailed out for the win. Lauren King had three kills for the Hounds in a 9-4 run in the win.
With the Hound starting rotation back in for the fourth set, the Hounds couldn’t seem to get back into the groove of the first two sets.
“I kind of new that was going to happen, but I also knew once we started to get our rhythm and started getting our passes in line we’d be fine,” he said.
The Hounds managed a 4-3 lead when a Marek attack sailed wide left. Marek missed on the next two at the net to give the Hounds a 6-3 lead. But Washington would come back to tie the game at 7 on Marek block of a King attack.
A Lampe kill at 11-9 would give the Hounds a 3-point lead. But Demon senior Brynn Beenblossom recorded a kill at 14-12 to close the gap to 1 forcing a timeout by Bailey.
The head coach got in the ears of the Hounds who then raced to a 22-17 lead on an ace from junior Madison Pirri and would close it out after Lampe would push a kill to an opening in the Washington left side center.
Lampe had 10 kills on the night to lead the Hounds. Johnson had nine and King had eight. Bailey was perfect 14 of 14 with an ace. Barnes was 24 of 25 serving with four aces on the night. Nadia Boeding had 21 digs and Bailey led Fort Madison with 32 assists.
Fort Madison moves to 4-0 on the conference and 5-11 on the year and will play Burlington (2-0, 7-4) for the conference title on Thursday in Fort Madison with a 7 p.m. start time.
On Saturday, the Lady Hounds dropped three of four at the Iowa City Liberty Tournament.
Fort Madison fell to Center Point-Urbana 19-21, 10-21 and the defeated Fairfield 21-10, 21-19. The Hounds lost the last two matches against Clinton 11-21, 13-21, and Iowa City West 15-21, 13-21.
Lampe had 14 kills in the tourney to lead all Hounds. Bailey had 32 assists and 19 digs. Nadia Boeding had 24 digs and was 15 of 16 serving with two aces. Barnes and Pirri each had three aces on the day. Kendall Beebe was 19 of 20 serving with an aces and 10 digs.