Senior Night ended in frustrating fashion for the Fort Dodge volleyball team on Tuesday.
Making their final regular-season appearance, the Dodgers (8-26 overall, 0-3 in CIML Northern) were swept away by league foe Ames.
Scores were 25-18, 25-23 and 25-17 in favor of the Little Cyclones (20-13, 2-1).
After trailing from start to finish in Game 1, FDSH seemingly had a golden opportunity to rebound with a victory in the second set. Despite falling behind 15-10 near the midway point, the Dodgers managed to reel off 10 of the next 13 points. Juniors Tiana Mericle and Ashley Altman each delivered a pair of kills during Fort Dodge's rally, however, the visitors eventually stemmed the tide with a mini 3-1 run down the stretch.
"That second game was ours to take, but when we had a chance to close (Ames) out, we just didn't finish off the points at the end." FDSH head coach Toni Cochrane said. "Overall, nobody really came through for us at the times when we needed them to most. I thought our play was pretty in and out for most of the night."
Down two games to none, the Dodgers spotted the Little Cyclones an early 7-0 edge in the finale and failed to recover. Fort Dodge actually briefly sliced the deficit to just two (10-8), but Ames sealed the deal with a late 15-9 flurry.
"We still aren't playing with enough consistency as a team," said Cochrane. "Volleyball is a game of momentum swings and runs, and you have to be able to fight through all those little ups and downs."
Mariah Knutson and Jaci Cochrane each went a perfect 13-for-13 from the service line for the Dodgers. Cochrane also registered two aces, while Knutson added one.
In the kills column, Mericle, Lexi Astor and Altman led the way with nine, eight and seven, respectively.
Astor accumlated 16 digs as well, and Maddie Egli notched 16 assists.
Leah Smith (12) and Emilee Brammer (10) both reached double digits in kills for the Little Cyclones, who also swept Fort Dodge in their previous meeting this season. Ames will enter the postseason with seven wins in its last nine outings.
Knutson, Abby Shimon and Ashton Pederson were each recognized for Senior Night prior to Tuesday evening's match.
The Dodger sophomore (25-13 and 25-17), freshman A (25-17 and 25-22) and freshman B (25-5 and 25-16) squads all prevailed, while the junior varsity (25-16 and 25-18) came out on the short end.
Fort Dodge will now battle 10th-ranked Urbandale (30-7) in a Class 5A, Region 1 semifinal on Oct. 25. Start time is set for 7 p.m. in Urbandale.