MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets’ volleyball team just kept coming up short and, finally ran out of steam. In the end, the visiting Mansfield Madison Rams took down the Jackets in Ohio Cardinal Conference action, 25-20, 9-25, 25-22, 25-9. The Tuesday night game was the Jackets’ regular-season home finale and Senior Night.
After getting behind in the opening set, 14-9, the Jackets seemed to slowly right themselves. Although they lost the first set, they managed to grab a small lead in the second set. The Jackets, leading 8-7, went on a bit of a tear. Mount Vernon senior Lexi Otto (nine aces) stepped up to the service line, and proceeded to land an ace. Then, teammate Ashley Berg (seven kills) added a kill and Lily Erb scored twice. At the same time, the Rams looked out of sync, with Hope Barrett and Faith Kuhn hitting shots that landed out of bounds. Teammates Kami Baker and Layne Stone (11 assists) added to the Rams’ troubles by hitting the ball into the net. By the time Otto was done serving, Mount Vernon had built a 21-7 lead. Mount Vernon senior Jordan Reeder (five kills) got service back with her team ahead, 23-9. She landed an ace and fellow senior Kylie Ransom (three kills) scored as the Jackets won the second set going away.
“The second set showed what consistency can do for us,” said Mount Vernon coach Courtney Rabold. “When we get the serves in and get the ball down on the court, that’s when we roll.”
For a while, it looked like it would be a real last hurrah for the Jackets’ trio of seniors.
“Lexi, Jordan and Kylie are amazing,” Rabold said. “They have been a blast to coach. They give so much effort and they work their butts off, every day. Everyone loves them. They’re just a great group of girls.”
The Jackets’, however, just could not sustain their momentum. After they had a slow start in set three, falling behind, 12-5, it was Otto’s turn to serve again. Another Otto ace, and a pair of unforced errors by the Rams, closed the gap to 12-10. Mount Vernon drew even at 15 with Reeder serving. Teammate Cora Lepley, serving later in the set, landed a pair of aces and fellow Jacket Emma Summerfield (seven kills) scored, giving Mount Vernon a 19-16, third set advantage. The Jackets were still winning, 21-18, when Madison’s Layne Stone started serving. She and teammate Slone Kiser (10 digs) combined to help their team finish out the set with a 7-1 run.
The Jackets looked like they might put up a fight, when they were in a 6-6 deadlock in the fourth set, but they lost their cohesion and seemed to tire as Madison’s Taylor Bender (10 digs) and then, Mackenzie Nickolaus (13 assists) combined at the service line to send their team on a 16-2 run to finish off the Jackets.
“Obviously, it’s frustrating,” Rabold said. “We wanted to win this for our seniors. We couldn’t get the ball in the court. (Madison) was more consistent than us. That’s been our trouble all year. Every team we go against, we have a lot of errors. We give teams points and it’s frustrating to watch. We keep trying to work on it and, in some games, we’re on and, in some games, we’re off.”
Also, for Mount Vernon, Maddi Sinsel had 20 assists and six kills. Maddy Burdette had 10 digs.