Falls in two straight 25-20, 25-22 to finish the season at 20-8-3 overall

It wasn’t quite the same drama as last year as the Fulton Hornets rallied from seven down to beat the Boonville Lady Pirates volleyball team in the championship in the district tournament. Nonetheless, the sting was felt just the same as No. 2 Fulton knocked off top-seeded Boonville in two straight games for the title in the Class 3 District 9 Tournament at Fulton by the scores of 25-20, 25-22.
While the loss closed out Boonville’s season at 20-8-3 overall, head coach Susie Stone said the girls played hard and gave it everything they had but just could not find a way to gain momentum and keep it against Fulton.
Of course to get to the championship match, the Lady Pirates had to beat a much improved Versailles squad in the semifinals. And while the Lady Tigers took the first set 25-21, Boonville came back and won the next-two by the scores of 25-11, 25-14.
As for Fulton, they took a little easier road to the championship by beating Kirksville in two straight 25-20 and 25-14.
Although Boonville wound up losing in two against Fulton, they had every chance to win the match while playing to seven ties in the first set.  Of course nine errors didn’t help the Lady Pirates in Game 1, some of which came at crucial times in the match. Boonville and Fulton also took a different game plan throughout the match. While the Lady Pirates relied on a combination of hitting and dinking to open spots on the floor, Fulton went with a more aggressive approach by setting to its two strongest players who in-turn smashed the ball to the floor.
Boonville also led by as much as five in the first set after reeling off four straight points on a block by sophomore Raven Stone and back-to-back-to-back blocks by sophomore Morgan Edwards to make it 11-7. Meanwhile, after a battling back and forth, the Lady Pirates again went up by one at 16-15 after a service error by Fulton.
Unfortunately for Boonville, they never led again in the set as the Lady Hornets rallied back with a 10-4 advantage for the victory to go up 1-0 in the match.
Stone said Fulton gained momentum at point 10 in the first set. “We battled back and forth before they reeled off three points straight off of strong serving from Fern Stevemer,” Stone said. “We would push a few points and then they would push a few points and then just when I felt like we were going to turn the corner, Fulton would go on a three point run. Then, we would have to answer and fight to get back to even ground. It was a defensive battle and when we needed to attack at times we were a little too hesitant. Fulton also won the service battle by serving up five aces on the night to our one. We had to fight for every point we earned, however, I felt like the second game we blocked better and had a little more control on their outside hitter, but they found other ways to score.”
The second set was just as close as the first, with Boonville again going up early by a score of 3-0 after two hitting errors by Fulton and a block at the net by Stone.
But just like the first set, Fulton battled back to tie the match on six different occasions at 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 10-10, 12-12 and 13-13.
However from that point on, the Lady Pirates couldn’t seem to get over the hump as Fulton came  back with three straight points to go up by three at 16-13. Then, after a kill by junior Anna Davis to cut the lead to two at 16-14, Fulton came back and reeled off another four in a row to extend the lead to 20-14.
Boonville didn’t go down without a fight, though. After cutting the lead back to two at 21-19 after a kill by senior Bailey Pfeiffer, the Lady Hornets again came back with two straight on a Boonville hitting error and an ace by senior Allison Pierce to go up 23-19. Then, after trading points, Pfeiffer again came back with a dink to the back row and then combined with a block by Morgan Edwards to make it 24-22. However, on the final point of the match, Boonville served the ball in the net to start the celebration for Fulton.
Stone said against a scrappy team like Fulton you have to be aggressive on the front row consistently and not allow them to go on strong scoring drives.
“I thought Fulton once again gained momentum when Stevemer served up back to back aces to go up on us 16-13 and then we had to play catch up for the rest of the set,” Stone said.
Bailey Pfeiffer led the attack for Boonville with 12 kills on 25 of 27 attack attempts along with 10 assists, nine digs, one block and one service point.
Kristin Hoff, meanwhile, finished the match with 18 digs, four service points and two kills on 6 of 7 attack attempts. Zoe Root had 14 assists, three service points and two digs while Kylie Hohensee added eight digs, seven service points, three assists and one kill on 6 of 7 attack attempts, Mariah Root with 11 digs, five service points and one assist, Morgan Edwards with seven blocks and five kills on 10 of 11 attack attempts, Taylor Fry with five blocks and three kills on 7 of 8 attack attempts, Raven Stone with six blocks, one assist and one kill on 2 of 3 attack attempts, Anna Davis with four kills on 19 of 21 attack attempts with three digs, Anna Terlep with two digs and two service points with one ace and Sam Ivy with one kill on 1 of 4 attack attempts.
In the semifinal round against Versailles, the Lady Pirates actually opened the match with a little momentum by going up by as much as seven on two different occasions at 10-3 and again at 11-4. What happened after that is anybodys guess as Versailles rallied back to tie the match at 14-all. Then, after playing to four more ties after that, the Lady Tigers finally took the lead for good with the score knotted at 20-all by outscoring Boonville 5-1 for the victory.
Stone said the Lady Pirates allowed Versailles to gain some momentum with off-speed roll shots. “Versailles was able to bust through some of our blocks and we committed too many hitting errors,” Stone said. “When we started pushing middle we were able to have success and gain momentum. Meanwhile, in the second and third set, we served strong and kept Versailles out of system and took advantage of stronger blocking.”
The Lady Pirates were definitely the better team in the final two sets. After Versailles rallied back to tie the match at 3-all, Boonville came back and reeled off 10 straight points on the serving of Kristin Hoff to go up 13-3. The Lady Pirates also closed out the second set on a roll by reeling off seven straight points to win 25-11.
Meanwhile, in the third set, Boonville again jumped out on top to stay by reeling off four straight on a block by Stone, a hit to the middle by Kylie Hohensee and back-to-back kills by Pfeiffer to make it 4-0.
Versailles never got any closer than three after that while Boonville led by as much as 10 on two different occasions at 16-6 and 21-11. However after Versailles cut the lead to eight at 22-14 on a hit through the block, Boonville came back and reeled off three straight to closeout the match.
Pfeiffer was again the statistical leader for Boonville with 20 digs, 17 assists, 17 kills on 32 of 34 attack attempts, six service points with one ace and one block.
Hoff had 25 digs, 15 service points with two aces, two kills on 6 of 7 attack attempts and one assist, while Zoe Root added 24 assists, eight service points, four digs and one of one on attack attempts, Mariah Zoot with 16 digs, five service points and 2 of 2 on attack attempts, Morgan Edwards with nine kills on 15 of 16 attack attempts with five blocks, one dig and one service point, Kylie Hohensee with seven digs, five service points, two assists and one kill on 5 of 6 attack attempts, Taylor Fry with seven kills on 12 of 13 attack attempts, four blocks and two digs, Anna Davis with seven kills on 14 of 15 attack attempts, two blocks, two digs and one assist, Raven Stone with four kills on 5 of 6 attack attempts with three blocks, two assists and one dig, Sam Ivy with three kills on 4 of 7 attack attempts with two blocks and one dig and Anna Terlep with three digs and three service points with one ace.