A slow start wasn't what Estherville Lincoln Central needed against a LeMars squad that has been ranked most of the season in Class 4A.
The Bulldogs, who just fell out of the rankings, didn't show any ill effects from the long bus ride in taking the first game 25-11. ELC played one of its better games of the season in the second set and led most of the way. But after taking an 18-15 lead, LeMars went on a 10-1 run to close out the second set 25-15.
ELC stayed close early in the final game, but the Bulldogs pulled away for a 25-15 victory.
ELC's Maddy Burns and Lauren Moeller go up for the block during play against LeMars on Tuesday.
The second game was the one to watch for ELC fans. The Midgets jumped out to a 4-1 lead with a couple big hits by Megan Jensen. LeMars rallied to tie the match at -5, but kept committing errors.
Rachel Lambert came off the bench with an ace serve at 8-5 while Caitlyn Clayton scored the next two ELC points with a kill and an ace serve to maintain a three-point lead at 11-8.
Lauren Moeller recorded her lone kill of the night to give ELC an 18-15 lead.
"They (LeMars) were making a lot of errors and we were playing as a team," said ELC coach Carly Marx.
Then the Bulldogs began their run. The Midgets began making errors and the Bulldogs tied the match at 18-18. LeMars then recorded three straight kills to lead 21-18 before giving up a point. But three ELC errors and one Bulldog allowed the visitors close out the final four points.
ELC started the third game with a 4-1 run, but then the Bulldogs went on an 8-0 run and never relinquished the lead.
Jensen led ELC with eight kills while Caitlyn Clayton finished with five, Joslyn Moore had four set assists.
Lambert, Clayton and Moore each had an ace serve.
Defensively, Jensen finished with nine digs, Clayton had eight and Katie Gruhlke had seven.
ELC (9-14 overall) travels to the Storm Lake on Saturday.