Demons improve each set in loss to Fairfield

By Doug Brenneman, JOURNAL Sports


It is important to be aggressive in sports; however, it has to be purposeful.

Washington lost a home Southeast Conference volleyball match 3-0 to Fairfield Tuesday because of errors.

?The aggresiveness was there, the execution wasn?t,? Washington coach Lexa Mahr said. ?I just told them what killed us was we lost this ourselves. Fairfield didn?t do anything we haven?t seen before. They didn?t do anything that we didn?t prepare for, but we had so many errors that just gave them points, whether it was service errors or hitting errors, we were just handing them free points.?

That was especially true during the first set, a 25-10 loss.

Washington?s first point was a Hannah Anderson kill but Fairfield already has 6 points on the board. It was a 10-2 deficit when Mahr called time. Phelan Hostetler connected on a kill and served an ace to get within 12-7, but errors allowed the Trojans to pull away.

?We did not come out and execute what we had practiced in our practices earlier in the week and even last week,? Mahr said. ?We knew the game plan, but we just did not execute it at all that first set. Our serve receive was off, which then in turn led to bad passing and then we couldn?t hit anything. When we did hit, we were hitting out of bounds.?

The second set started much better for the Demons as it was tied at 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9 but consecutive kills by Alison Godwin and aces from Bryanna Popejoy helped Fairfield build a 17-10 advantage, prompting a Demon timeout. A kill from Olivia Pacha capped a 7-3 run by Washington to get within 20-17, but it could get no closer and lost 25-19.

?We cruised the first set, but then we started trying some different plays and running different people in,? Fairfield coach Diana Drish said. ?I wasn?t worried. I did not call a single timeout. We just needed to keep moving forward, make sure our sets were on, play good defense and get up on blocks. I have a good defense back there.?

The third set was tied 13 times before Fairfield got the match point on a Washington error for a 26-24 victory.

The set was tied nine times through 13-13 before the Trojans got a kill from Julia Fritz for an 18-14 lead.

A timeout from Mahr got the Demons going, especially when Kaitlyn Mitchell?s assist led to a smash from Addison Six. A kill from Gracie Greiner got the Demons some momentum and the score was within 20-17. A tip from Hostetler, a kill from Anderson and a kill by Isabel Bailey tied the score at 21. A kill from Anderson and one from Hostetler gave the Demons a 23-21 lead.

Fairfield rallied to a 24-23 advantage, but a Bailey spike tied it at 24. A Godwin kill, her 16th of the match, and a Washington error ended the match.

?I love the aggresiveness we showed, but when you have that many errors, it is really hard to come back from that, especially being down 0-2,? Mahr said. ?I knew we would come back at some point. I was hoping it would be the second set because we are not a first-set team. That third set, that?s the team that needs to show up every game and every set.?

Washington has a 3-9 record and is 2-2 in the conference. The Demons play at Ottumwa?s tournament Saturday.

Bailey had six kills and seven digs while Hostetler had five kills. Kinsey Duwa and Alexa Mitchell combined for 19 assists. Kaitlyn Mitchell had a team-high 10 digs.

Fairfield started the season 5-0 and was ranked as high as 12th in Class 4A, but lost four straight and fell out of the rankings. The Trojans are 7-5 overall and 3-1 in the league. Kara Jeffrey had 17 assists and Trojan teammate Danae Drish got to 21 digs.