The Fairfield volleyball team made quick work of Mt. Pleasant Wednesday night in the opening round of the Class 4A region 8 bracket when they defeated the Panthers three games to zero.
The victory was the final for the eight senior Trojans in their home gym, something that sort of went unnoticed.
“We didn’t even think about that,” said head coach Diana Drish with a laugh, “but it’s great to celebrate in that situation.”
Senior Alison Godwin was “really sad,” and classmate Bryanna Popejoy added, “It’s a little bitter sweet and it doesn’t feel like we’re saying goodbye, but that was the last hooray in this gym, with this team, with this student section. It’s a little sad to think about now, but when we were on the court it was fun and we had a good time.”
Fairfield wasn’t playing around in the opening set, dominating the Panthers in a 25-10 outcome that was never in question.
“We had a lot of positives,” said Drish. “We had good serving, defense and kill shots.”
The Panthers kept it closer, but were never in the game, let alone the match for that matter and Fairfield won 25-15 as they focused in on the sweep, something they had done four times this season over 10 games.
The final score was 25-13 and Fairfield completed the 13-game, five-match, season-sweep of rival Mt. Pleasant by scoring the 75 points needed in just over 60 minutes, while only conceding 38 total points.
The 30-5 Trojans will travel to 20-11 Fort Madison who eliminated Fairfield last season and has split the two Southeast Conference matches the teams have played this year, with each team winning on the road.
“The kids are ready and we’ve already come back at Fort Madison, so the road won’t faze them,” said Drish after the win. “We just need to make less mistakes and get after it.”
Popejoy talked about the elephant in the room.
“We’ve always been rivals and everybody knows it, so just keeping our heads on and having the support of the crowd and playing as a team when we are down there is what we’ll focus on.”
While Bryanna wouldn’t divulge their attack plan for the Bloodhounds, she did talk about how they will defend them.
“We focus on the outside hitter a lot,” explained Popejoy. “She likes to hit lines so we have our backside and our middle hitters block line. As a middle back myself, along with Jill [Dunlap], we sit in that corner between where the line is being blocked and where the hitter is going to cut because she sees the line. Also on the middles, we watch for that dump, so we have Danae camped out on the top left corner of the court because that middle likes to dump because she’s not the strongest hitter. Their backside hitter always goes deep corner, so we have our middle backs shift and our setter pulled in a bit, too. That’s them, but I wont talk about us.”
The match is set for 7 p.m. at Fort Madison on Oct. 23 and the winner will likely face No. 2 Cedar Rapids Xavier who is 25-8 and would be hosting the regional final.