Lady Hounds get to .500 in Southeast play

Fort Madison wins second five-setter in two days


BURLINGTON — Fort Madison’s volleyball team loves the five-set matches.
Two in two days, though, might have seemed like a little much, but the Bloodhounds survived.
The 25-22, 15-25, 25-17,20-25, 17-15 win over Burlington on Tuesday night at Johannsen Gym was the fifth victory of the season for the Bloodhounds.
Fort Madison (5-19 overall, 3-2 Southeast Conference) is 4-0 in five-set matches this season, and after this match and Monday’s five-setter over West Hancock, the Bloodhounds could use the rest.
“Oh yeah, definitely,” senior hitter Taylor Johnson said.
A three-set sweep would be nice, Johnson said.
“But this feels amazing,” she said.
“We love playing five games,” Fort Madison coach Kelly Knustrom joked. “The refs are going to not like us. They’re going to be like, ‘We’re not going to do their games. We’ll be there all night.’”
Knustrom, too, would like a sweep, just so it would help the Bloodhounds establish some consistency. But a win is a win, no matter how long it takes.
“They do keep fighting. They do,” Knustrom said. “They have the capability to get things done. It’s just about finding that consistency, playing level, instead of the up-and-down, up-and-down. We’re going to figure it out. But if you can win matches like this, it’s a sign that you know how to fight for wins.”
“I think we’re playing really well, especially together,” Johnson said. “We have our moments where we don’t do great, but we have a lot of other moments where our chemistry is really good, and we play well together.
Fort Madison got off to strong start, rallying from being down 22-20 in the first set to get that win.
But Burlington (15-14, 2-3) raced to a 10-3 start in the second set and evened the match. Fort Madison controlled the third set, but couldn’t sustain the momentum. The Bloodhounds rallied to get within 22-20 before the Grayhounds scored the final three points.
The fifth set was a back-and-forth that Fort Madison finally finished. Burlington fought off two match points before Dayonna Davis’ kill gave the Bloodhounds a 16-15 lead. A hitting error by the Grayhounds, though, finished the match.
“I think we didn’t let up in the fifth (set),” Johnson said. “That’s what we said in the huddle — don’t give up, keep swinging hard.”
“It was just about staying aggressive,” Knustrom said. “When we were aggressive, when we were swinging, we were keeping them out of their system.”
Johnson led the Bloodhounds with 12 kills and added two blocks. Davis had 10 kills. Sydney McEntee added nine kills and two blocks. Amy Yasenchok was 21-of-22 serving with five aces. Elle Ruble had 31 digs. Lauryn Helmick added 21 digs and a block. Mara Smith had 39 assists.
“Taylor was great, Dayonna hit the ball well, and I think Sydney is really peaking right now,” Knustrom said. “This was a good team effort tonight.”

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