Panthers fall in four

By Doug Brenneman, Golden Triangle News Service


WASHINGTON ? Things looked positive for Mt. Pleasant volleyball after the opening set in Washington on Tuesady night, but the Demons won the final three games to keep Mt. Pleasant winless in conference play.

?We just made more mistakes than what they did,? Mt. Pleasant coach Dave Streeter said.

It didn?t look like that would be the end result early as the Panthers jumped out to a 9-1 lead in the first set, thanks to the serving of Lyndi Vantiger and kills from Maggie Cristoforo. A kill by Lydia Stewart made it 16-6 and a kill by Avery Sutter resulted in the biggest lead by either team all night at 22-8. Consecutive kills from Stewart ended the first set at 25-15.

Washington took the next three sets by scores of 25-19, 25-22 and 25-11.

?I was worried after the first set,? Washington coach Lexa Mahr said. ?I have said to them all year long that it seems like they like to dig themselves a hole. Then we try to work out of that. In the first set, we did not talk and we did not move well. We did not serve receive well that first game.?

Mt. Pleasant had a 7-3 lead in the second set, but a kill by Isabel Bailey gave the Demons the first lead of the night at 9-8. A block by Addison Six and a block by Phelan Hostetler gave the Demons a 20-12 advantage. A block by Hostetler ended a brief Panther rally at 20-16. A kill by Bailey ended the set.

?In the huddle between sets, we talked about our mental state,? Mahr said. ?We have to be focused. We have the ability to do it, but we just have to figure out our mind set.?

With the match tied at 1-1, the third set reflected that. It was tied four times through 6-6, then Mt. Pleasant pulled out to a lead, capped by an ace from Caroline Richtman at 14-9.

?I didn?t know if we would climb back out of it,? Mahr said. ?I harped on them a little bit. Once we start communicating, all of our fundamental skills come through.?

The Demons tied it at 17 on an ace from Alexa Mitchell. It was tied four more times before back-to-back kills from Gracie Greiner gave Washington a 23-21 lead.

Karsyn Lamm?s kill pulled the Panthers to within 23-22, sparking a Demon timeout. Panther hitting errors ended the set.

The fourth set was tied four times through 9-9, then the Demons started connecting.

?The girls had a great mentality, so we are just going to roll with it,? Mahr said. ?We play better when we got our hitters involved.?

Streeter called a number of timeouts in the third and fourth sets.

?I just told them it was up to them. I could not do it for them. They had to make the decision whether to play or not. Judging from the score, they decided not to play.?

Washington did not get their hitters involved in the first set. In the second, third and fourth sets, better serve receive led to better passing, which lead to better offense, which led to more scoring.

Mt. Pleasant is 0-3 in the SEC, 1-8 overall with the only win against the Demons in a tournament at Grinnell.