WASHINGTON — One team was sure to get its first victory of the season Tuesday in a Southeast Conference high school volleyball match between Keokuk and Washington.
Keokuk had an 0-5 overall record and 0-1 in the league and Washington was 0-6, 0-2.
Keokuk prevailed with a 3-0 victory to get the zero out of the win column.
“This win gets the monkey off our back, so to speak, because we have had a match or two that we should have been a little more competitive than we were,” Keokuk head coach Randy Loges said. “This is the most complete match we have played.”
Washington celebrated Senior Night in honor of Cameron Malichky, Sophia Kleese, Brynn Beenblossom, Halle Barkema, Olivia Marek, Emma Nichols and Taylor Brinning.
All seven of the seniors have been out for volleyball every season of their high school years. for years.
“They have always been a fun group,” Washington head coach Alexa Mahr said. “They have a lot of energy. Typically that shows on the court but tonight they did not play like themselves.”
To have all seven play together on Senior Night, Mahr changed things around for the Demons. She adjusted the rotation. She also instituted a new defense for Washington to play.
The first set was tied five times, the last at 8-8 on a Marek ace. Miracle Ailes hit consecutive kills for the Chiefs and forced a Mahr timeout trailing 15-9.
“We don’t normally have that rotation or that defense,” Mahr said. “I think they felt a little stressed out with the new system we were trying to play. I think that carried over into the second and third set.”
A kill from Beenblossom was the last offensive point for the Demons in the first set loss of 25-11.
“We were dominant early because we were aggressive,” Loges said. “We have been stressing that we need to be the aggressor and not be waiting for things to happen. I have seen teams really start building up once they get that first win so I hope it works for us.”
A serve receive error prompted a Demon timeout with a 10-4 deficit in the second set. A block from Beenblossom after the timeout sparked the Demons to rally and they were within 14-12 after a Marek kill. Ailes took over again and the second set ended at 25-15.
“They are usually very energetic and tonight that did not show up and I think it affected the way they played,” Mahr said.
A Kleese ace gave the Demons a 6-5 lead in the third set, but Keokuk scored five straight to prompt a Demon timeout. A block from Remy Messinger was the first point out of the break but Ailes’ kills and Keokuk aces put the score at 22-11. Barkema landed an ace and Marek recorded a kill for a brief rally to within 22-15. Abigail Wolter’s kill for Keokukended the set and match at 25-16.
Washington plays Saturday in Ottumwa’s tournament.