Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2018

Panthers drop season opener

Ottumwa beats Mt. Pleasant in straight sets in non-conference game
By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News | Aug 24, 2018
Photo by: Andy Krutsinger Hannah Hess bumps the ball during Mt. Pleasant’s season opener against Ottumwa on Thursday night;

Opening night was finally here for the Mt. Pleasant volleyball team on Thursday night, but the Panthers couldn’t turn the home opener into their first win. Ottumwa took down Mt. Pleasant in three-straight sets, winning 25-16, 25-9 and 25-16.

Mt. Pleasant got off to a slow start in the first set. Ottumwa scored six of the first seven points, with a Lexie Magnani kill being the only Panther point. Mt. Pleasant eventually stopped an Ottumwa run to cut it to 2-6, but the Bulldogs scored the next four points.

The Panthers had the lead cut to six points on a couple of different occasions, one of which came when Avery Sutter won a battle at the net to cut the Ottumwa lead to 12-6. The Bulldogs, however, would score the next four to make it a double-digit lead at 16-6.

The Panthers put up three in a row, the third coming when Sadie Carrasco won a net battle to cut the Ottumwa lead to 16-9. The Bulldogs, however, bounced back and scored the next three to run the score back up to 10, at 19-9.

Mt. Pleasant scored seven of the last 13 points but the Panthers couldn’t claw back, allowing the Bulldogs to take game one 25-16.

Game two was a short one, as Ottumwa dominated from start to finish. The Bulldogs scored 15 of the first 20 points to take a 15-5 advantage despite an early kill from Avery Sutter and two from Maggie Cristoforo.

Cristoforo would end the set with three kills. Lyndi Vantiger had an ace midway through and Karsyn Lamm had a late kill, but Ottumwa pulled away to take the second set 25-9.

Vantiger began the third set with a kill, which kicked off the most competitive game of the night. Ottumwa scored the next five points but the Panthers came back to tie.

Sadie Carrasco had a kill to cut the lead to 3-5. Then, four points later, Carrasco took over the serve and scored on back-to-back aces to cut the lead to 6-7. Another Panther point tied the game at 7-7.

After two straight Ottumwa points, Hannah Hess tied it at 9-9 with back-to-back aces of her own. Mt. Pleasant did have leads at 10-9 and 11-10, the ladder coming after a kill by Lydia Stewart.

After three straight Ottumwa points, Mt. Pleasant tied the game again. Sutter and Cristoforo combined for a block and Vantiger followed with an ace to tie the game again, at 13-13.

Ottumwa scored the nex point, but Carrasco tied the game at 14-14 with her final kill of the night, and the Pnthers took a 15-14 lead on the very next point.

Things unraveled for Mt.Pleasant late in the third, however. Ottumwa scored 11 of the final 12 points to complete the sweep and drop the Panthers to 1-0.

“I wanted to see them look a lot sharper,” Coach David Streeter said after the game. “To me, I think we regressed a little bit. But then again, it is the first game. They might have had first-game jitters.”

Streeter also mentioned the inexperience of the Panther team. Many players took their first varsity start on Thursday, as the team graduated a chunk of starters from 2017 and are battling early season injuries.

“It’s going to take a little bit for them to get used to playing with each other,” Streeter says. “But they need to step up and take on that challenge, and move forward with that.”

The Panther junior varsity team also lost in straight sets, but put up a good fight in both. Ottumwa took the first set 26-24 and the second set 31-29.

Mt. Pleasant varsity volleyball will next compete at the Grinnell Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 25. That tournament is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

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