Mt. Pleasant volleyball defeats rival Fairfield
FAIRFIELD — Icona Pop was playing, which meant it was almost game time.
With each passing song, the Trojans volleyball team sang more and more as they warmed up. The crowd, containing a student section for the both Fairfield and Mt. Pleasant, grew more raucous, anxiously awaiting the impending first serve.
The Southeast Conference rivalry clearly has not lost any zest.
Mt. Pleasant would eventually get the best of Fairfield in four sets on Thursday, with scores of 25-21, 18-25, 25-23 and 25-22.
“It was the typical Fairfield and Mt. Pleasant rivalry to start the season,” Fairfield Coach Nancy Diers said. “It was fun, it was aggravating, all of the above.”
The first game went back and forth. Crucial blocks late in the game sealed it for the Panthers.
“We had a lot of adversity out there,” Mt. Pleasant Coach Jeff Schulz said. “The girls didn’t let it affect them. They went ahead and did what we had planned. They stuck to the routine.”
After taking set two easily, Fairfield lost a close set three. Set four, however, is the one that hurt the most. With Fairfield leading, 16-5, Mt. Pleasant launched a 15-4 run to tie the game at 20. The Trojans couldn’t do enough to stop the assault, and would lose the set.
“They just kept chipping away and we made mistakes,” Diers said. “Instead of helping each other out we kind of shutdown.”
The Panthers seemed to come together just at the right moment.
“We had to make sure we didn’t let anything drop,” Mt. Pleasant senior Brianne Potts said. “We knew we wouldn’t give up no matter what.”
Potts led the team with 25 digs. Taryne Shull led the Panthers with 10 kills. Kelsi Phipps had nine kills of her own.
Hannah Becker had 23 assists and Ashley Loving added 18.
Shay Smith put up four blocks, and four different Panthers had two ace serves each.
For Fairfield, Hannah Greiner and Marisa Repp tied for the team lead in kills with nine. Sydney Burnett had 17 assists and Molly Ryan recorded two blocks.
Next up for the Panthers is Tuesday’s home opener against Washington.
The Trojans also face Washington in their next contest, which is Thursday on the road.
Diers knows that her team will also get another shot to beat Mt. Pleasant.
“We’ll see them in conference and in multiple tournaments this season,” she said. “We’ll play them again.”