The Clarke Lady Indians dropped both matches of their triangular Thursday night, falling to Pleasantville and Mount Ayr in 2-0 finals.
The Lady Indians fell behind early as Pleasantville opened up a 10-2.
Poor communication led to Pleasantville taking advantage of open holes on the floor along with retaining serve, giving it the opportunity to build its lead on consecutive points.
Seven consecutive points by Pleasantville made the deficit 18-4 a hole that was too deep for the Lady Indians to climb out of in a 21-7 set loss.
The Lady Indians struggled again, falling behind 10-4 early int he second set but four straight points pulled the score to within three.
An uncontested flip to the back corner by Caitlin Clark made it 12-9, continuing a stretch where Clarke outscored Pleasantville 7-2.
The Lady Indians were able to pull the score to 14-13 before a resurgent Pleasantville closed out the set for a 21-15 set final.
“I thought we came out a little flat,” said Clarke head coach Shawn Pavlick. “That first game, we were really flat. In the second game, we started to play the net better and getting a lot more attacks. We just need to play our game and those points will come.”
The Lady Indians took on Mount Ayr in the second match of the triangular, this time pulling out to an early advantage.
Three points off the serve of Clark, including an ace, gave the Lady Indians a 9-6 lead.
The lead was wiped out on a Tegan Streit’s service and Mount Ayr took the lead with four consecutive points off Channler Henle’s serve.
Mount Ayr pulled away for a six-point lead at 21-15, it’s biggest of the set, before Clarke pulled it back again on quality serving from Clark.
An 8-2 run for the Lady Indians erased the deficit and evened the score as Clarke sat at 23-23 with an opportunity to pick up a crucial set win.
Clarke was unable to hang on as the Raiderettes picked up the two decisive points, winning the set 25-23.
The Raiderettes, coming off a loss to Nodaway Valley, entered the match with experience under their belt at 2-2. A team that was working together and clicking on all cylinders against a Clarke team that is still youthful and building chemistry is something to consider.
“You’ve got to remember, we’re kind of a young team right now. We just have one returning varsity starter, so we’re starting to learn to play together. I thought the the third game, the first set against Mount Ayr, we played real tough and we hung with them right down to the wire. Just couldn’t close the door,” said Pavlick.
In the final set the Raiderettes opened up an 11-4 lead early on, not giving Clarke many opportunities to build a run or to develop any rhythm.
The Raiderettes closed out the match on a 10-2 run, putting Clarke away with a 25-11 final.
“It’s showing that they’re starting to mesh,” said Pavlick. “I think as the season goes on we’ll get a lot better.”
While the Lady Indians struggled Thursday night, there were positive takeaways from four sets against two good teams.
“We have some real solid servers. ... We just have to make sure we’re serving solid and when they give us a free ball or anything easy, we have to take advantage of it,” said Pavlick.
Kiaya Dunbar finished the day with nine kills. Emma Bolton had 14 assists and Kaitlyn Halsband posted seven digs against Pleasantville.
UP NEXT – Clarke plays Albia Tuesday night in Albia at 5:30 p.m.