By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News
The Mt. Pleasant volleyball team will live to fight another day.
The Panthers gritted out a first set win over Washington and jumped all over the Demons in the next two games to pick up a sweep in the first round of the regional tournament on Wednesday night. MPCHS took games 25-20, 25-9 and 25-19 to move on in the bracket and end Washington?s season.
Mt. Pleasant jumped out to a 7-3 lead early on thanks in part to three kills from outside hitter Kalynn Batey. Washington was able to battle back to tie the game at 7-7. Both Isabel Bailey and Morgan Brinning had two kills in the first seven Demon points.
Bailey and Brinning continued to fire in spikes and Washington was able to open up a three-point lead two different times, the latest of which made the game 19-16 in favor of Washington.
The game was tied 20-20 after an Ashlee Menke kill, and Anni Liechty stepped up to serve for the Panthers. She caught fire in a big way, scoring the final five points of the set including four aces. The last of her aces finished the game off at 25-20 and put Mt. Pleasant in a 1-0 lead.
It was all Mt. Pleasant in the second set. The Panthers jumped out to an early 13-6 lead and never looked back. Dani Broeker served nine points in a row to stretch the lead to 22-6 before the Demons could rebound, and the Panthers eventually won 25-9.
The Panthers started the third set off 3-0 but Washington came storming back with four-straight points, taking a 4-3 lead on a kill by Brinning. Mt. Pleasant scored the next six, however, and opened up a 9-4 lead.
Addison Six got it going for Washington midway through the set, talling a block and two kills before the Demons got to double-digits. Mt. Pleasant still held a steady lead, however.
The Panthers flirted with a double-digit lead when a Stacey Apadaca block and a Liechty kill stretched it to 22-13. Washington scored four in a row, including two more kills from Brinning to cut the lead to 22-18.
Maggie Cristoforo made it 24-18 Mt. Pleasant with a kill two points later. Six gave the Demons one last kill but Liechty answered with one of her own and the Panthers took the third set 25-19.
After the game, Mt. Pleasant coach David Streeter said that while the Panthers made a couple mistakes, they were able to do what they needed to do. He specifically pointed to getting sharper in the second set after having a close call in the first.
?You give any team wind in their sail, they are going to take it,? Streeter said. ?I didn?t get worried that first set (but) I wanted to clean everything up. We made a few mistakes decision-making wise. I just wanted to clean that up, and the second set showed it.?
Mt. Pleasant improved their overall record to 12-18 on the year. The Panthers will head to Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Oct. 24, to take on top-ranked Xavier, which sports a 29-9 record coming into the contest.