Muscatine coach Tim Martin has urged his team to play with more discipline and consistency all season. The Muscatine volleyball team got all of that, combined with a strong offensive and defensive showing in the first set.
Muscatine (3-8, 2-2 MAC) led by as many as five points in the first set, but Bettendorf fought back and defeated Muscatine 25-23, 25-14, 25-9. Despite the road loss, Tuesday showed the Muskies what Martin says they are starting to believe: they can play with anybody.
"I think this kind of put that in front of them, they saw it," Martin said. "We were digging all of their shots, and we were running a good offense. We had them on their heals."
However, after losing the opening set despite playing a "perfect game," it was clear the Muskies were deflated. Martin knew his players put everything they had into the opening set, but said they still continued to play hard and play well despite running on empty later in the match.
But it wasn't enough to keep up with the Bulldogs, who Martin said began to pick the Muskies apart offensively with short tips, and began to serve well.
"They expended so much energy and used so much adrenaline in the first game," Martin said. "We still battled, but Bettendorf stepped up and showed why they're one of the top teams in the MAC."
Martin praised the play of senior Annabelle Henriksen, who had seven blocks and four kills. Senior Catie Cole led the team with five kills, and fellow senior Paige Miller had 13 digs.
"When we went to the locker room I said 'ladies, you have nothing to hang your head about,'" Martin said. "You could see the fear in their (Bettendorf) eyes. There weren't any negatives I could point out."