BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON – It was a close match.
But you win close matches by getting long scoring runs, and Fort Madison’s volleyball team couldn’t do that in Tuesday’s 25-20, 25-20, 25-22 loss to Mount Pleasant in a Class 4A Region 8 quarterfinal at Fort Madison High School.
The Bloodhounds (11-18) only had two runs of four or more points as the Panthers (15-16) steadily held on to each game.
“We just couldn’t put together two points, three points, when we needed them,” Fort Madison coach Kent Bailey said. “We would serve a ball out. We would hit an easy ball out. We couldn’t get into sync.”
Fort Madison had leads in the first two games, and just when it looked like the Panthers were in control in the third game, had a seven-point run that tied the game at 18. Reyna Lampe had three kills in that run, part of her eight-kill night.
But Mount Pleasant was able to close out the win and advance to Thursday’s semifinal against Burlington High School in Burlington.
“Give Mount Pleasant credit,” Bailey said “They made us work. They dug out balls, made us take an extra swing. Give them credit. They did the job.
“They found holes in our defense. But the bigger thing was they dug up everything we hit. That made our hitters have to try to get more, and we couldn’t do it.”
The Bloodhounds had a chance to set an early tone in the first game. They tied the game at 20, but Mount Pleasant scored the final five points.
They also made a late run in the second game, getting to within 23-20 before the Panthers closed out the match with back-to-back points.
“This was a great group of young ladies,” Bailey said. “I came to the gym every day enjoying coaching them. They’ve worked hard. It’s been one of those years when you never knew what to expect. But we made it to the end, and they appreciate that.”
Lauren Bailey was 16-16 serving with two aces and 23 assists, while Kendall Beebe was 10 of 10 serving. Nadia Boeding had 19 digs on the night to go with Bailey’s 17 and Madison Pirri’s 15. Alana Simpson and Reyna Lampe led the Lady Hounds at the net with eight kills each.
Bailey also announced that he was stepping down as the Bloodhounds head coach after the game.
“I announced to the players afterward that I was retiring with the seniors. I’ve been coaching at some level for 31 years and I’m looking forward to some other opportunities,” he said.