KEOKUK — Tuesday marked day two of the Southeast Conference volleyball tournament and the new blood in the conference picked up right where they left off in the regular season and on dayh one. Burlington completed it’s sweep through the SEC in its first year, winning two matches on the night to go 5-0 in the round robin.
The top team in the Union coverage area was Fairfield. The Trojans were coming in to day two at 0-2, having lost to Burlington and Ft. Madison last week, but quickly evened it up on the first two games of the night.
First, Fairfield grinded out a three-set win over Keokuk. After a couple of nail-biters, the Trojans turned it up in the third game, winning 21-17, 18-21, 21-8.
Fairfield faced Mt. Pleasant next. In two more tight sets, the Trojans gritted out a 21-19, 21-17 sweep, earning revenge on the Panthers for two losses earlier this season.
The Trojans had the chance to get even more revenge when they took on Washington in the last set of the night. It was the Demons who would get the last laugh, however, beating Fairfield 20-22, 21-16, 21-15. “It felt really good,” said Washington head coach Lexa Mahr. “The girls were talking before about how it was really sweet to beat Fairfield, but it would be even sweeter if we beat them twice. They were really excited.”
Despite the loss to Washington, Fairfield’s two-win day moved them ahead of Washington and Mt. Pleasant in the round robin standings. Keokuk wound up with a 2-3 record as well.
“There’s no reason to dwell on the negatives with the loss,” Fairfield coach Diana Drish said. “We’re only walking away thinking ‘heads held high’ with the third place finish.”
The Demons had just two games on the day after going 0-3 last week. Washington gave Burlington a run for their money in game two, but fell 21-9, 22-20. The Grayhounds scored the last seven points to close it out.
Mt. Pleasant was the only Union area team to come into Tuesday night with a win already. The Panthers had beaten Washington last week but lost to Burlington and Ft. Madison.
It was a rough finish for the Panthers, who came in with hopes of going 3-2 themselves. After the two-set loss to Fairfield, Mt. Pleasant lost a heartbreaker to Keokuk, 21-17, 18-21, 15-12.
“We’ve got to clean up the play,” Mt. Pleasant coach David Streeter said. “Those two games were basically ‘Who is going to make the least amount of mistakes?’”
With just one round left of the tournament, Ft. Madison had the chance to slay the giant with one final game against Burlington. The Grayhounds defeated the Bloodhounds in two sets, handing Ft. Madison its only loss of the tournament.
The tournament marked Mt. Pleasant’s final game before the postseason. They’ll host Fairfield on Wednesday, Oct. 23. The Trojans still have their home tournament this weekend before they can turn their attention towards the Panthers.
Washington has one more regular season game before they prepare for the first round of regionals at Pella. They’ll host Columbus Community on Thursday, Oct. 17. That will be the Demons’ senior night.
Listed below are the final standings of the SEC tournament with head-to-head tiebreakers deciding ties.
1. Burlington 5-0 (wins over FM, Fair, Keo, MP, Wash)
2. Ft. Madison 4-1 (wins over Fair, Keo, MP, Wash)
3. Fairfield 2-3 (wins over Keo, MP)
4. Keokuk 2-3 (wins over MP, Wash)
5. Mt. Pleasant 1-4 (win over Wash)
6. Washington 1-4 (win over Fair)