By ANDY HEINTZ
Courier sports writer
---- — OTTUMWA — Things started so well for the Ottumwa volleyball team in its home opener Thursday against Mount Pleasant at Evans Middle School.
The Bulldogs started the evening filled with energy and vigor and stunned the Panthers 25-18 in the first game. Unfortunately, Ottumwa's momentum faded after it lost a close game two 27-25. and it went on to drop the next two games 25-14, 25-15.
Megan Black led Ottumwa with 18 digs and 22 kills and Chloe Davis had a team-best 16 assists. Black spearheaded the Bulldogs offensive effort for most of the night, as she seemed to always get a kill when her team desperately needed it.
The Bulldogs got behind early in game one, but Ottumwa quickly battled back to tie the game at 7-7 when Megan Robertson scored on a ace. The Bulldogs eventually overtook the Panthers' lead and went up 15-14. After that, the girls, spurred by an flurry of spikes by Black and Ellie Hammack grew their lead to 21-16 and went on to win the game.
Game two went back and forth in the earlygoing, but Mount Pleasant exploited its height and strength advantage to take control of the game's momentum. Kills by Mount Pleasant's Shayleigh Smith and Mary Wester helped the Panthers build a 21-15 advantage. Ottumwa, led by Black, mounted an 8-2 rally and tied the game at 23. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs just couldn't get a key point when they needed it and the Panthers were able to squeak out a 27-25 win.
The Bulldogs were never able to fully recover from the loss and Mount Pleasant dominated next two games. Ottumwa puts on its home tournament Saturday at Evans Middle School.
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