Bulldogs fall in five in region finals

Published 9:33 am Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Aplington-Parkersburg was on the ropes but Lake Mills couldn’t land the knockout punch Monday night in the Class 2A Region 5 final in Mason City.

The No. 6 ranked Bulldogs (38-4) held a 2-0 lead after a pair of 25-18 wins in which they controlled play, but the Falcons summoned the strength to battle back in game three for a resounding 25-11 win that started to build the momentum in their favor as they forced a game four and went on to take the match 3-2 to end a historic season for Lake Mills.

“Sometimes it can be a danger to come out too strong,” said Lake Mills head coach Jim Boehemer. “It’s a guessing game … which three games do you want to win? I think game four is always the one you want to win if you’re going to go five. Game four is always important.”

Email newsletter signup

Boehmer has preached that to his team all season long and the Bulldogs responded as they took a 21-14 lead, but the will of Aplington-Parkersburg was not broken and the Falcons made a stand to comeback to take a 24-22 lead as they scored 10 consecutive points. Lake Mills got as close as 24-23, but Aplington-Parkersburg closed out the game for a 25-23 win.

“For some reason we tend to come out a little sluggish and it takes us a while to get our momentum going,” said Falcons head coach Bradi Johnson. “But when we get it going we’re unstoppable.”

That was never more true than in game five as Aplington-Parkersburg jumped out to a 14-8 lead. The Bulldogs chipped away with gritty play and got as close as 14-13 before the Falcons recorded the final point and secured a regional championship that will endure in the memory of many in the community after the high school was lost in a tornado in May.

“There’s no girl in the state of Iowa that has been through what they’ve been through,” said Johnson whose team has played in 18 gyms this season. “They have to use that on the court because it makes them stronger and better.”

Chelsea Poppens, a 6-foot-3 inch all-state outside hitter, recorded 20 kills in the match as Aplington-Parkersburg looked to her down the stretch in the fifth game.

“Chelsea Poppens was unbelievable,” Johnson said. “She does things that most people can’t do.”

Lake Mils served 96 percent for the match and Sammy Nelson was 24-for-25. Nelson served the final points for the Bulldogs with the Falcons sitting at 14 points in game five.

Cassie Christianson was 18-for-18 serving and recorded 15 digs and 38 assists.

Jordynn Brackey led Lake Mills with 18 kills and had five blocks in the season-ending loss. Brackey helped lead the Bulldogs to a school record 38 wins this season, breaking the previous record by four wins.

“I told the girls, ‘You don’t want to trade this season for nothing,’” Boehmer said. “This is what dreams are made of. I’ll remember this for the rest of my life.”

Lake Mills has nine seniors on this year’s team and four were all-conference last season.