McLouth volleyball goes 1-1 on senior night
McLouth A pair of McLouth High volleyball players played their final matches in their home gym Tuesday, and they left the floor with a win against a league rival.
The Bulldogs went 1-1 in a senior night triangular against Northeast Kansas League opponents Leavenworth-Immaculata and Oskaloosa. They fell to the Raiders in straight sets, 25-20, 25-21, but bounced back to defeat the Bears in three, 25-19, 20-25, 25-18.
After dropping a streaky match against Immaculata, MHS got a favorable start in its finale against Oskaloosa. The teams battled to a 10-10 tie early in the first set, but the Bulldogs scored the next six to gain an advantage. OHS battled back and drew within three at 22-19, but coach Kay Koch's team scored the next three to take the set.
The Bears flipped the script in the second set, using a 6-1 run to take a 21-14 lead. McLouth kept things close, but couldn't overcome the deficit as OHS evened the match at one set apiece.
There was no early struggle for momentum in the final set, as MHS sprinted out to a 17-7 lead. Oskaloosa found its footing and chipped away at the lead, but never got closer than five as the Bulldogs closed out the night on a winning note.
"That game was huge for the seniors, but it was also huge for the community and the building of the program," Koch said. "For the hometown crowd to see that we're getting better, that was so awesome."
Koch noted that fatigue might have been an issue on the Bears' end, as they played a three-set match against Immaculata just before the finale.
Seniors Baylee Brown and Konner Patterson were honored in a ceremony before the Bulldogs' match against OHS.
"They're the first players that have worked with me for four years," Koch said of the senior duo. "They have been excellent. They're always there for the team."
McLouth struggled in its opener against the Raiders, falling behind in the first set, 12-5. They put together a 6-0 run to get within four, prompting an IHS timeout, but the visitors scored the next four points to regain control. The Bulldogs stayed close the rest of the set, but couldn't complete the comeback.
MHS looked to answer when it took a 10-5 lead in the second set, but Immaculata stayed within striking distance. An 11-2 run gave the Raiders a late lead, but McLouth scored the next four to make it 21-20. The comeback came up short, though, as IHS scored four of the next five to cap off the sweep.
"It might even be mental with Immac," Koch said. "We're used to losing to them, so we've got to change our mentality. I think that has a lot to do with it."
The Bulldogs will hit the road Thursday for triangular with Atchison and Wyandotte at AHS.