BURLINGTON — There is the age-old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg. An equivalent question in volleyball may be do you need to win to have fun or do you need to have fun to win.
Washington had the closest sets played in the Southeast Conference volleyball tournament Tuesday at Burlington High School. Yet the Demons went 0-3 in the opening round of the tourney. The closing round of the round-robin tourney will be Tuesday in Keokuk.
Burlington and Fort Madison both went 3-0 while Fairfield was 0-2. Mt. Pleasant was 1-2 and Keokuk was 1-1.
Fairfield started the night on a roll, downing Fort Madison 21-9, before falling 21-15, 18-16. The Trojans were down 10-2 in the third set and rallied to take a 15-14 lead.
“We played well and we fought hard, especially when we were down against Fort Madison,” Fairfield head coach Diana Drish said. “We fought and came back. The first set we came out and everyone was charged up and ready to go. In Set 2, we just didn’t have it and Set 3 started the same way. Then somehow we got fired back up.”
A talk about the Trojan Way made a difference. “Trojans don’t give up and we definitely did not give up,” Drish said. “If we’re going to go out, I want them to go out working hard. I think they gave it all they got. Whether we come out on top or on the bottom, we have to give it our all and I think we did.”
Burlington downed the Trojans 21-14, 21-15.
“Burlington definitely has more athleticism we do,” Drish said. “In order to beat them, our whole entire team has to be playing top-notch. Everyone has to play their position at all times and be on top of their game. Tonight we just did not quite play that way. We played quite well, but we just did not have enough to stop them.”
Olivia Jones had nine kills and four blocks for Fairfield on the night. Allison Rebling had 11 digs.
Mt. Pleasant dropped their first set 21-10 to Washington, but came back to win 21-16, 15-12.
“Winning that one like that, I would think would carry into the next match, but it didn’t,” MP coach Dave Streeter said. “I guess it just depends on the game. If we are up, we are up. If we are down, we are down.”
Losing 21-10, one would think Mt. Pleasant would be down, but it started the next set hot. “You would think that would carry into the next match, but it didn’t,” Streeter said. “It just levels back out.”
The Panthers then lost to Fort Madison 21-19, 21-16 before falling to Burlington 21-6, 21-8.
“We had our ups and downs,” Streeter said. “We need to just take care of the ball. We’ll get in our low points where we are not playing well and it just kind of feeds. Instead of the good plays feeding us, it seems it’s the bad plays that feed us. Then we just fall into a hole that we can’t get out of.”
The Panthers should have been on a roll after rallying to win over the Demons.
“We can’t just go through the motions and expect to get a win,” Streeter said. “They have to want to finish the game on top. We just have to get it in their mind that they can win because I know that they can. They have to be able to see it.”
The Fort Madison match was close throughout, but the Panthers did not have much for Burlington.
“There has to be a mental drive,” Streeter said. “They have to want it.”
Washington seemed to want it, but it fell just short. After the MP loss, the Demons played Keokuk, losing 26-24, 22-24, 15-10. Trailing 10-3 in the third set, Hannah Anderson’s serving brought the Demons to within 10-8.
“I don’t think we played too well,” Washington senior Samantha Farmer said. We played hard but we just could not get the win. I think it is about the team dynamic. I don’t think we know how to win and have fun. I think if you want to win, you have to have fun first. I feel like our team members tend to get down on themselves. So when that happens, we are not having fun and that’s when we do bad. When we’re having fun and we’re just out there to play then we win.”
The final match of the night was against Fort Madison and the Demons lost 21-12, 21-16.
“It seems like if we give up too many points in a row, we get down on ourselves,” Farmer said. “We are improving though because we did a good job on covering tips. I think we are just our own worst enemies.”