OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa volleyball team failed to avenge last season’s defeat against Des Moines Lincoln, falling to the Railsplitters 3-1 (25-13, 24-26, 25-23, 25-16) Tuesday at Evans Middle School.
Ottumwa’s loss to the Railsplitters cost Ottumwa a CIML Metro league championship last season. While excellent at times, the Bulldogs were dogged by slow starts throughout the match. Katie Sammons led the girls with 12 kills and five blocks and Beth Overturf added 17 assists.
After a lackluster first set, the girls erased a 20-9 deficit on their way to a 26-24 win in the second game.
“The second set showed what our ability is,” coach Jessica Carson said.
Trailing 22-11, the Bulldogs scored nine straight points to cut the lead to 22-20 in the second set. The Railsplitters, however broke their scoring drought with two consecutive points. Later in the game, consecutive kills by Karissa Wilcoxson and Katie Sammons brought Ottumwa within one; 24-23. The Bulldogs went on to score the next three points and win the set.
“We got more excited and didn’t get down when we made a mistake,” Ottumwa’s Megan Black said when asked what triggered the Bulldogs comeback in the second set.
“Getting serves over and being able to pick it up on defense,” Sammons added.
In what was a common theme of the match, Ottumwa fell behind the Railsplitters early in the third game. Lincoln built up a 16-8 lead before Ottumwa came charging back.
Consecutive kills by Black cut the Railsplitters’ lead to 17-14. Lincoln, however, reclaimed momentum of the game and built up a 23-16 lead. Consecutive kills by Wilcoxson and a kill by Sammons trimmed the lead to 24-20. Moments later, a tip by Ellie Hammack narrowed the gap to 24-22.
The Bulldogs won the next point and then appeared to score again, but the line judge ruled that the ball had touched Sammons before it went out of bounds, which gave Lincoln a 25-23 victory.
Carson chatted with the judge about the call and Ottumwa’s fans voiced their displeasure with the decision.
The Railsplitters gained control of the fifth set early on and never relinquished it. They went on to win 25-16.
“I think we were capable of beating them,” Black said. “They kept getting momentum and we didn’t get what we wanted so we got down ourselves.”
Ottumwa (4-3) plays Saturday at Southeast Polk.
Des Moines Lincoln 25-24-25-25
Serving — Megan Black 9-10, Beth Overturf 10-10, Olivia Roark 17-18, Katie Sammons 13-14, Mallary Simmer 3-5, Chloe Davis 6-7, Ellie Hammack 7-8. Team — 68. Aces — Black, Roark, Davis. Team — 4.
Hitting — Black 34-39, Overturf 1-1, Sammons 22-25, Mallary Simmer 3-5, Davis 1-3, Hammack 6-6, Kelsey Guyette 2-2, Karissa Wilcoxson 25-29, Megan Cobler 11-12, Hope Bitner 8-11, Roark 1-2. Team — 138. Kills — Black 7, Roark, Sammons 12, Simmer, Hammack, Wilcoxson 9, Cobler 4, Hope Bitner 1. Team — 36.
Setting — Overturf 17, Davis 15, Hammack 15. Team — 32.
Blocks — Black 2, Hammack 2, Sammons 5, Cobler 2, Bitner. Team — 12.
Digs — Black 18, Overturf 6, Roark 39, Sammons 2, Simmer, Davis 10, Guyette 11, Hammack 5, Wilcoxson 2, Cobler 2. Team — 99.