By PAUL HINES
MT. VERNON —
After an opening game win against rival Centralia, the Lady Rams lost in three Monday night.
Centralia won the match 20-25, 25-16, 25-21.
“We didn’t play terrible,” Mt. Vernon coach Angie Carroll said. “We just made a lot of little mistakes, probably the net violations is what killed us the most.”
After the two teams split the opening games, Centralia stayed in front throughout the decisive final game. The Lady Rams stayed within striking distance but could never make a run to take a comfortable lead.
Centralia led early before Mt. Vernon tied the game at nine when Taylor McGowen and Kelby Kujawa teamed together for a block. Molly Koester followed with an ace to give the Lady Rams a 10-9 edge. Koester led Mt. Vernon with five kills. The Lady Rams seized another advantage at 11-10 after a Kujawa kill but never led again. Centralia opened up a big lead at 20-14 before Mt. Vernon closed the deficit late in the match. The Lady Rams fought to within three points, but Centralia’s Danielle Meadows ended the match with a block.
“They lost all of their energy. They lost all of their momentum after that first game,” Carroll said. “I don’t know where it went. We played a great first game.”
In the opening game, the Lady Rams built a big lead early. Kirsten McGowen put Mt. Vernon up 10-4 after a tip. The Annies sliced the Lady Rams’ lead down to two points, but Mt. Vernon regained control quickly. Rachel Kirsch put Mt. Vernon up 21-18 after an ace. A Centralia hitting error made the Mt. Vernon lead four. Aaliyah Palmer ended the game with ace for the Lady Rams.
“They came out very fundamentally sound,” Centralia coach Angie Edson said. “Their defense was incredible. They were digging every ball. We talked about how that was going to happen, and my girls just kind of folded.”
Mt. Vernon took the lead after the first point of the second game, but the Annies would lead for the rest of the game. Centralia doubled up Mt. Vernon at 10-5 and lead by as much as seven points late.
“We were swinging pretty well, we just couldn’t get some of them to fall down,” Carroll said. “It’s just one of those things that happens.”
Mt. Vernon is 15-9 this season and 3-4 in the South Seven Conference.