The Fairfield Trojans dug themselves a 2-0 hole but then grabbed the momentum with a dominating win in game three. After the 25-13 game three win, they went on to down Mt. Pleasant in class 4A semi-final regional volleyball action Thursday in Fairfield.
“We were wound a little too tight playing at home,” said Fairfield coach Nancy Diers. “We then kind of gave away game two and that’s how you get down 2-0.”
Diers knew that the match would come down to the scrappy play of her Trojans against the size of the Panthers. The size let Mt. Pleasant lead throughout the entire first game.
Mt. Pleasant used the hitting of Linzie Hood early to lead 7-3. The Panthers built the lead to 15-7 before Fairfield fought back on kills by Sidney Baumann and Erin Thompson. Thompson’s crosscourt kill pulled the Trojans to within 22-18 but Hood added two more late kills to close out the visitors’ 25-19 win.
Game two was close until the midway point. Three early kills by Panther Kelsi Phipps allowed the visitors to hold onto a 11-9 lead. Phipps was the dominant player at the net with five kills and three blocks. A six point service run by Thompson let Fairfield forge a 17-12 lead. The Trojans used a perfect 24 for 24 game serving to start to put pressure on the Panther passing.
“We always want them to have to make a hard pass or at least another pass,” added Diers.
Phipps had a big hand in giving Mt. Pleasant the win. Her deep kill tied it at 21 and her block winner gave the Panthers a 22-21 lead. Baumann had a winner to pull the Trojans to within 24-23 but Phipps won it with her fifth kill of the game.
Fairfield easily won game three. After Baumann got the Trojans off to a fast start with an ace that started her four service points, two winners by Sydney Howard gave the Trojans a 9-4 lead. Baumann had back to back kills and the Fairfield lead stood at 17-7. The visitors never got closer and another service run by Baumann closed out the game.
After a slow start by the visitors in game four, they used their size to fight back to get even late before Fairfield pulled out the 25-23 win to even the match. The Trojans’ Alexis Ring had a lot to do with the Panther slow start. She took the serve with her team up 5-3 and then she reeled off six straight points with the serve.
A Thompson kill deep to the back line gave Fairfield a 17-10 lead. The lefty hitter talked about her game. “I think it’s harder for blockers against somebody that hits left-handed. They aren’t used to that look.”
Howard added a kill to keep the Trojans up 20-15 before the big front line of the Panthers came back to grab a 21-20 lead. The game was tied at 21, 22, and 23 before Fairfield closed out game four. A perfectly placed shot for a winner to the deep corner gave the Trojans a 23-22 lead.
“One of the things that shorter hitters need to do is have more than one kind of shot,” said Diers. “It puts a little extra pressure on the setter to get that done.”
Game five, the match winner, was all Fairfield. Sidney Burnett gave the Trojans a 3-0 lead with the serve. Kills by Marissa Repp and Thompson moved the Fairfield lead to 8-4. The visitors would close to within two at 9-7 before Baumann added two kills to put Fairfield on the verge at 14-8.
“I’m not going to be timid when I hit against anybody,” said Baumann. “You can still hit it hard and find holes in coverage in the back half of the court.”
Hanna Greiner sent one to the floor to finish off the 15-8 game five win for the Trojans.
Fairfield (27-7) will travel to Washington next Tuesday night to take on ninth-rated Cedar Rapids Xavier in the regional finals.
Mt. Pleasant 25-25-13-23-8
Mount Pleasant Statistics
Serving — Lauren Hillman11/12, Elinor Krieger-Coble 18/20, Kathryn Chabal 17/17, Brianne Potts 15/16, Allie Leichty 9/10. Team 88/93 . Aces — Crieger-Coble, Potts. Team — 2.
Hitting — Lydia Smith 6/9, Leichty 7/8, Phipps 29/32, Taryne Shull 15/18, Krieger-Coble 27/33, Hood 30/35, Ashley Loving 2/3, Hillman 3/4, Potts 4/4, Holly Long 2/3, Madison Pullis 1/1, Chabal 3/4. Team 129/154 . Kills — Phipps 9, Shull 5, Krieger-Coble 6, Hood 6, Loving, Potts. Team — 28.
Setting — Hillman 17, Loving 16. Team — 37.
Blocks — Smith 2, Phipps 7, Shull 3, Krieger-Coble 2, Hood. Team — 15.
Digs — Chabal 20. Team — 73.
Serving — Burnett 19/20, Baumann 22/23, Thompson 19/19, Ring 15/15, Howard 17/17, Cheyanne Laux 14/14. Team 106/108 . Aces — Burnett, Baumann 2, Laux. Team — 4.
Hitting — Repp 26/29, Baumann 37/43, Thompson 24/29, Howard 44/49, Greiner 9/12, McKenna Ledger 9/14, Burnett 1/1. Team 150/177 . Kills — Repp 3, Baumann 8, Thompson 6, Howard 7, Greiner 2, Ledger. Team — 27.
Setting — Burnett 24. Team — 40.
Blocks — Repp, Thompson 3, Greiner 3. Team — 7.
Digs — Laux 34. Team — 99.