Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2017

Nail-biting third set dooms Panthers

Aug 25, 2017
Photo by: Andy Krutsinger Kalynn Batey goes up for a spike during second set

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News

 

OTTUMWA — Sometimes the turning point in sports comes at an obvious point, and for the Mt. Pleasant volleyball team it was a barn-burner of a third set that almost made it to 30 points.

The Panthers were tied 1-1 in sets with Ottumwa, falling 25-21 first and taking the second 25-19. The two teams battled back and forth in the best set of the night, but it was the Bulldogs who pulled out the 29-27 win. Ottumwa parlayed that momentum into a 25-16 win in game four to win the match 3-1.

The young Panther team had to face adversary almost immediately after Ottumwa pulled away late to take the first game by four points. Mt. Pleasant responded well in the second, using big serving streaks from Maggie Cristoforo and Ashlee Menke to take as much as a nine-point lead at 23-14. The Bulldogs battled back with five straight points but the Panthers closed it out with the last two to win their only set 25-19.

“They were just hitting their spots well,” said head coach David Streeter about his servers in the second frame. “The spot I gave them, they were able to hit pretty consistently. When you can hit your spots, it really makes it tough for (the opponent) to run their offense.”

Ottumwa held a small lead for most of the third set but Mt. Pleasant kept it close and eventually tied it at 20-20 on an Anni Liechty ace and later 23-23 a Kalynn Batey kill. Ottumwa sailed a spike long on the next point but it was ruled the ball went off a Panther finger and the Bulldogs led 24-23.

Batey tied it once again with a kill from the outside and she and Sadie Carrasco teamed up on a block to give the Panthers a late lead at 26-25. A net ball tied it back up at 26-26 and then both teams traded hits into the net to bring the score to 27-27.

The Bulldogs grabbed momentum back with a kill to make it 28-27 and a kill attempt by Cristoforo traveled a little too far, going long and bouncing out to end the set.

Mt. Pleasant kept the fourth set close until about the midway point when the Bulldogs began to pull away, taking it 25-16 to end the matchup at 3-1.

After the game, coach Streeter said he was impressed with the improvement of some of the new members of the varsity rotation, but that letting Ottumwa build early leads was a key to the loss.

“I think what kind of beat us down a little bit was getting down those five points,” Streeter said. “I told the girls, even though it’s only five points to battle back, in the three games we lost, we had to do that. Yeah, you come up even, but it takes so much to get those five points back that you make a couple errors and they’re back on top.”

The Panthers fell to 0-1 to begin the season. They will hit the road early tomorrow (Saturday) morning for a tournament hosted by Clark High School in Osceola. That tournament will begin at 8:30 a.m.

The junior varsity team also lost a close game on Thursday night.

The JV squad fell 25-18 in the first set. The Panthers bounced back with a 25-19 win in the second set but dropped the third set 15-6.

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