FAIRFIELD — Timeouts are often used by coaches in all sports to stop another team’s momentum or to draw up a particular play for a certain situation.
Tuesday in a Class 4A opening round postseason home volleyball match against Southeast Conference foe Keokuk, Fairfield head coach Diana Drish used a timeout for a more basic reason.
“I just told them, ‘Now is the time to go,’” Drish said.
The Trojans went. Down 9-2 in the first set when the timeout was initiated the Trojans’ Anna Dunlap connected on a kill as did Danielle Breen, a block by Macy Rayburn, an ace by Lauren Kraemer and consecutive kills by Ellie Anderson made the score 13-12 for the Trojans.
The final result was Fairfield’s 3-0 sweep of the Chiefs. Keokuk ends its season with a 6-21 record. Fairfield eked out a 3-2 win in the regular season at Keokuk but disposed of the Chiefs 2-0 in the Southeast Conference Tournament.
Initially Tuesday looked to be like the first match but energy from the bench helped motivate the Trojans.
“I felt like we were just not ready to start playing yet,” Trojans libero Kiya Robertson said. “We needed to get some momentum going. Everybody started working better together when we started cheering for each other. When we did that, everything picked up.”
The Trojans (12-20) will need that energy to meet third-ranked North Scott (20-4) in a regional semifinal Thursday.
“If we start there like we did tonight, we are done,” Drish said. “The plan is to go play Trojan volleyball, which is hard and aggressive.”
The aggression helped the Trojans open up a 20-17 lead after being tied at 12, 13, 14, and 16. That prompted a timeout from Keokuk. It was not as effective as Fairfield’s and the Trojans won the first set 25-20.
“We were sloppy with our passes and it’s hard to run an offense when that happens,” Keokuk head coach Randy Loges said. “Fairfield had a lot of goofy errors in the first set.”
Most of those errors were in serve receive, which came back to bite the Trojans in the third set. The second set was tied at 7-7 but Keokuk called time down 12-7. Maddie Jones behind the service line helped Fairfield to the biggest lead at 19-11. A combined block by Rayburn and Mallory Lyon increased the lead to 22-13 and the set ended with the largest margin yet at 25-14.
The third set mirrored the first set with Keokuk calling time down 10-4. That was as far as the mirror reflected. Breen hit a tip that rolled along the top of the net before falling for a point, then smacked consecutive kills and the Chiefs begged for another timeout down 16-6.
An ace by Maggie Rayburn produced the biggest lead of the night at 20-7. Then two aces from Keokuk’s Abby Wolter and a kill by Miracle Ailes happened and the score was 20-14.
“It was about our serve receive,” Drish said. “We weren’t getting a jump on the ball and we weren’t moving. They were doing a good job taking advantage of us because were not putting the ball where it belongs.”
A kill by Lyon and one by Dunlap blunted the comeback and Chief errors were the last two points of the match for a 25-16 score.
Most everything Keokuk tried to put down was dug up by the Trojans and Robertson. One of the longest rallies of the night was prolonged by her hustle and ability to keep the ball in the air.
“I just know I want to do whatever I can so that the ball does not drop,” Robertson said. “I don’t want them to get a point easily. If I at least get the ball in the air, then I have good teammates that can come get it.”