Midgettes’ final battle
ALGONA – As they say, all good things must come to an end. A terrific post season run by the Estherville Lincoln Central Midgettes was ended by the Bulldogs of Lake Mills in three straight games Friday night in Algona.
As they have most of the season the Midgettes came out of the gates slowly and the Bulldogs jumped on them quickly, storming out of the gates with a 25-7 win.
“That’s how it’s been for us this year,” said ELC coach Tyler Johnson. “I think maybe we try to feel out how good of a team we’re up against to determine how hard we have to play. Which is fine when your opponents aren’t talented but you can’t do that against a team of Lake Mills’ caliber.”
That devastating first game loss appeared to zap all of the energy out of the team as well as the ELC crowd. However, after breaking their huddle to begin the second game, the Midgettes came out of the gates swinging. After taking a 8-5 lead it seemed there was a sense among the team that they could compete with the Bulldogs.
ELC maintained the lead until the Bulldogs finally overtook them at 13-12. The Midgettes fought back, eventually tying the score at 24-24 following a ace serve by Kelsie McCauley, but Lake Mills finished the game on top 27-25.
“I didn’t feel like we passed very well in the first game,” said Johnson. “Once we started passing and getting some swings on them, I think they understood that if we keep swinging we can score some points and stay with them.”
The confidence the girls gained in game two led to an early 7-2 lead in the third. Lake Mills eventually tied the game at 8-8 and extended its scoring to take a 14-8 lead, but ELC fought back once again, tying the score at 15-15 after finally getting their quick set going to Alyssa Johnson.
“Alyssa has really come on strong these last few weeks,” said Johnson. “She’s gotten stronger and she’s really been pounding that ball when we can get it to her. She has enough height that against a smaller team she can really take over.”
Eventually the Midgettes fell behind once again, but thanks to the power of McCauley’s jump serves, they tied the score at 22-22. Following a timeout by an obviously frustrated Lake Mills team, the Bulldogs closed out the game on a 3-1 run to end it at 25-23, taking the 3-0 match victory.
McCauley led the team with nine kills and two ace serves.
Alyssa Johnson added six kills and Allie Sievert added four kills and two aces.
Kaylene Vos had 22 assists for ELC.
The Midgettes had three seniors playing in their final game of their high school careers; McCauley, Vos and Mallory Bradley.
“What can you say about Kelsie McCauley,” said Coach Johnson. “She led our team in kills. She had never played back row before and we asked her to do a lot for us this year. She played all over the court and when we got into trouble, we had to go to her to score and she had to do it from all over.
“Kaylene Vos is by far one of the better setters in our conference. She’s one of the best blocking setters I’ve ever coached. She has the ability to make something out of nothing and she will be missed.
“Mallory Bradley is one of those kids that, even though she didn’t get much playing time, she came out every practice and gave it her all. She spends the extra time getting better and she’s just an excellent role model for what we want in our program.”
Following their Regional Semifinal loss, ELC finishes the season 15-17 overall and 2-5 in the conference.