Gallery: Bulldogs to regroup after loss
Published 9:12 pm Monday, October 7, 2013
LAKE MILLS — After securing its 10th straight North Iowa Conference regular-season crown with a win over Mason City on Oct. 1, the Lake Mills volleyball team was unable to duplicate the result at the conference tournament on Monday.
Garner-Hayfield/Ventura — a team the Bulldogs beat twice earlier this season — provided the road block that kept Lake Mills out of the conference championship match. The Cardinals defeated the Bulldogs 3-1 in the semifinals.
After jumping to early leads in each game, Lake Mills couldn’t hold on, which is rare according to Bulldogs head coach Jim Boehmer.
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“We just couldn’t close,” he said. “We haven’t lost in this gym since 2002. It’s a weird feeling — almost surreal.”
In Game 1, Lake Mills held onto an 18-17 lead before taking the lead for good on two straight ace serves by Brooke Hagen to win 25-21.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 6-1 lead in Game 2, but the Cardinals countered with a 16-3 run. Lake Mills made a dent in it’s eight-point deficit with a pair of kills by Morgan Christenson, but Garner-Hayfield/Ventura was able to tie the match with a 25-16 win.
In Game 3, Lake Mills led 16-14 after a kill by Madison Shifflett. However, the Cardinals took their first lead of the game (18-17) and used a 7-3 run to win 25-20.
Same story in Game 4. The Bulldogs led early, but Garner-Hayfield/Ventura finished with a 25-15 run to seal the victory.
“Our mental focus and our physical focus was off,” Boehmer said.
The loss puts a damper on an otherwise stellar season where the Bulldogs compiled an overall record of 28-5, despite returning only one member from last season’s starting rotation that was 43-0 during the regular season.
Christensen and Rachel Segura of Lake Mills tied with a team-high 10 kills. Christensen also led the Bulldogs with four blocks and five ace serves. Hagen earned a team-high 28 assists, and Sarah Orban led Lake Mills with nine digs.
Despite the loss, Boehmer said the team can take something positive from the match.
“If it’s a lesson learned, that’s a good sign,” he said. “If it’s not a lesson learned, then you’re doomed to repeat it… and we don’t want to repeat it.”
To get to the semifinal match, the Bulldogs went 3-0 in pool play on Saturday with 2-0 wins over Newman Catholic, North Iowa and Osage. Lake Mills won those matches by a combined score of 126-59.
Earlier this season, Lake Mills beat Garner-Hayfield/Ventura 3-1 at home on Sept. 19 and 2-1 at the Bishop Garrigan tournament on Sept. 28.
Garner-Hayfield/Ventura lost the championship match in five games to Forest City. Game scores were 22-25, 25-19, 24-26, 25-16 and 15-7. Forest City won its first NIC tournament title since 1986.
Lake Mills defeated Forest City in both of its meetings this year.
Next, the Bulldogs play a triangular against Nashua-Plainfield and North Butler at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“It’ll be a great test for us,” Boehmer said. “It’s all about how we regroup and refocus.”
Statistics are in the Scoreboard: Oct. 7 post.