MT. PLEASANT — Sometimes when you hit a rut, you just can’t shake out of it. That’s what happened to the Mt. Pleasant volleyball team on Tuesday night.
After falling down 2-1 after three sets, the Panthers led Fort Madison 16-15 in the fourth set, with the chance to force a deciding fifth. Instead, the Bloodhounds scored eight-straight points to jump to a 23-16 lead, and ended the night on a 10-1 run to ground Mt. Pleasant in four (25-18, 15-25, 25-22, 25-17).
“It’s tough, especially when the pressure is on and you have to win,” said head coach David Streeter. “Fort Madison did what they had to do and we didn’t respond.”
The Panthers held as much as a three-point lead in the fourth set. Kenna Lamm had two kills early and froze Fort Madison with an ace to give the Panthers a 9-6 advantage. Fort Madison would storm back to take the lead, but Mt. Pleasant scrapped back to lead 15-13, and then 16-15 before the night-changing run.
Fort Madison controlled the first set, despite two early kills from Avery Sutter that seemed to set the tone for the Panthers. In the second set, the Panthers came back from an early deficit to take a 10-9 lead on a Karsyn Lamm kill, and cruised to a 10-point victory, capped off by a trifecta of kills from Kenna, who scored Mt. Pleasant’s 23rd, 24th and 25th points of the set.
Mt. Pleasant had a five-point lead in the fourth set. After a slow start, Ralyn Seberg kicked off a run with an ace that tied the game at 3-3. The Panthers would go on an 8-3 run to take an 11-6 lead on a kill by Elli Liechty, her fourth of the set.
The Bloodhounds answered Liechty’s kill with six-straight to snatch a 12-11 lead. The two teams punched back-and-forth, and were tied at 20-20 and 21-21. Fort Madison scored the next three to lead 24-21, and Mt. Pleasant couldn’t answer with a late run of their own.
Kenna and Sutter each had strong games, tallying 14 kills apiece. The Panthers led in all four sets.
Mt. Pleasant fell to 5-10 overall and 1-1 in what looks to be a balanced Southeast Conference.
“This one is going to sting a little while,” said Coach Streeter. “We had high hopes, and this one is going to hurt for a little bit, and I hope it does.”
The Panthers will try to shake it off on Thursday when they host a very tough Albia team on senior night. The Blue Demons will come into that game 7-2.