DES MOINES – The Ottumwa High School volleyball team's quest to sweep the CIML Metro conference came to a dramatic end on Tuesday night inside the Des Moines Lincoln Roundhouse.
One set away from setting a showdown for the outright conference title next Tuesday at Evans Middle School Gymnasium, the Ottumwa Bulldogs could not put away the Railsplitters in the fourth set before falling short in the fifth and decisive set of a 25-10, 20-25, 21-25, 25-23, 15-8 win for Lincoln to keep their own Metro championship hopes alive.
The loss leaves Ottumwa and Lincoln tied for second place in the CIML Metro standings at 3-1, one game behind 4-0 Des Moines Roosevelt. The Roughriders visit Ottumwa on Tuesday seeking to clinch the outright regular-season conference title. Ottumwa needs a win to share the title with Roosevelt while Lincoln needs an Ottumwa win and a win over Des Moines Hoover to create a three-way share of the conference crown.
The even battle between the Bulldogs (7-17, 3-1 CIML Metro) and Lincoln (7-18, 3-1 CIML Metro) featured an even battle at the net as Lincoln senior Kami Koning and Ottumwa senior Kennedy Hugen each finished with a match-leading 12 kills. Rylea Hinebaugh led OHS with a match-high 25 assists while Lincoln used balance to keep the Bulldogs off balance with 20 assists from Sophie Page and 19 assists from Jade Anderson to distribute the ball around the net.
Kiley Heller and Ella Allar each led OHS with three ace serves in the match. Heller led Ottumwa a match-high 22 digs while Allar collected a pair of solo blocks to lead the Bulldogs.
Before facing off with Roosevelt for a share of the CIML Metro title next week, Ottumwa heads to the Oskaloosa Tournament on Saturday.