Mount Pulaski edges out Lewistown Central 26-24 and 25-22

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[March 12, 2017]  In semifinal play at Decatur LSA on Saturday, Mount Pulaski Honeybears punched their ticket to the state championship match.

Mount Pulaski had to fight hard to earn this state championship berth. The Honeybears rallied late in set one over Lewistown Central and then had to hold off a very determined group of Indians in set two to punch their ticket to the Class 7-2A State Championship match on Tuesday night at 6:45 p.m.

In the first set Mount Pulaski found themselves down early 6-3 as the Indians were little and mighty, with only two taller girls to speak of.

Mount Pulaskiís errors were abundant from the get-go and the Indians took advantage. After the Honeybears front row watched the ball drop between them, it was evident something about the Indians style of play made the Honeybears freeze in their tracks. With Mount Pulaski facing an 11-4 deficit, the Honeybear fans were getting just as nervous as the players on the court.

A tip by Je'Na Rentmeister and an ace serve by Alexis Wade allowed Mount Pulaski to stay alive, only trailing 12-8 at this point.

Mount Pulaski managed to keep pace with the Indians in the next couple exchanges and after a long volley the Honeybears won the point. Even though the score was a close yet distant 15-11, this was just the beginning of the momentum shifting in favor of Mount Pulaski.

The next volley would see the ball drop in between the Lewistown Central players and quickly their coach would call a timeout.

The timeout allowed just enough time for Mount Pulaski Head Coach Donna Dulle to start a fire under her seventh grade leader, Cassidy Clark. Clark came up huge with not just one but two BIG kills next and the game was within reach, 16-14 now the score.

After an Indians player hit the ball long and out of bounds, Mount Pulaski fans were fired up along with Clark. All of the blue and white crowd was enjoying the 16-15 score, despite trailing yet at this point.

But the Indians bounced back and eventually extended the lead to 19-15 after a kill by Addison Yurkovich.

Nerves set in with the Indians, too, as Lanie Swearingen served the ball under the net and that was a costly error that caused things to escalate.

With the momentum shifting in full swing Mount Pulaskiís way, an ace serve by Clark would be icing on the cake and the end result was finally a new ballgame, 19-19 the tie score.

After a great volley between the two scrappy teams, a Lewistown Central player hit the ball wide and out of bounds and nearly into the wild Honeybears fan section. Finally Mount Pulaski had their first lead of the game at 20-19.

After a series of errors committed by the Indians, Mount Pulaski built a 23-20 lead and the wild Honeybears were going crazy.

But those wild Indians were a fierce bunch and Macy Mikulich gave Clark a hit she couldnít handle and then Wade got a little frazzled and tipped the ball out of bounds to allow the Indians to inch closer, 23-22 now the score.

Then Lewistown Central did something Mount Pulaski is famous for, a sneaky tip of the ball. So sneaky that the three Honeybears who dove to the ground after it, had no chance of coming up with it.

Oh this momentum keeps swinging in different directions. Another kill by Mikulich gave the lead back to the Indians.

Mount Pulaski evened the score at 24-24 after Lewistown Central was called for an illegal hit.

Back-to-back hits by Rentmeister would end the Indians hopes of a victory in set one. The kill that put Mount Pulaski on top 25-24 was a no-doubter by Rentmeister, but the final blow of the game for the Indians was when their middle maybe got a fingertip on the ball hit by Rentmeister, but had to watch it fall to the ground as the Honeybears celebrated on the other side of the net.

The 26-24 come-from-behind win was one Mount Pulaski fans will not likely forget anytime soon.

Not that set two was any easier, but the point spread was a wee bit larger. Wee bit is the key word here.

Just after Rentmeister was stunned and nearly knocked over by a shot from the Indians, Clark answered back with a monster kill to make the score 2-1 in favor of Mount Pulaski.

The score was back and forth until Mount Pulaski started to make a little run to break open the 4-4 tie.

Running the lead up to 8-4, it was Clark connecting with the ball and with a snap of the wrist, she left the Indians back row discombobulated. Clark was on a tear during this run and my oh my her kill to make the score 11-4 was simply put: awesome, wow!

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Hailee Daigh serves for Mount Pulaski during the state semifinals



Although for a brief spell Clark looked a little tired and in need of a second wind. She hit a couple balls in the net and allowed the Indians to crawl back in the thick of things, 11-7 the score.

Rentmeister stepped in to pick her teammate up and her nice play at the net allowed Mount Pulaski to maintain a 15-10 lead.

Both teams might have been getting a little wore out at this point, as the errors were frequent, but Mount Pulaski still held on to the 20-18 lead after Clark was called for being in the net.

A kill by Rentmeister left the Indians defense froze in their tracks as the game was quickly passing by and Mount Pulaski kept that lead intact, 22-20, but the end was drawing near.

Rentmeister would shut the door in set two, too. Her kill, her tip and her serve finished off the Indians down the stretch. Lewistown Central could not return any of it and it was game over.

Mount Pulaski had won 25-22 and the Honeybears ticket to the state title match was punched.

Mount Pulaski (15-4) will take on Mason City Illini Central (24-2) Tuesday night at 6:45 p.m. for the Class 7-2A State Championship.

Illini Central defeated Ashland A-C Central 25-19 and 25-17 in the semifinals late Saturday.

Mount Pulaski stats

Cassidy Clark 10 kills 2 aces 1 block
Je'Na Rentmeister 8 kills 1 block
Alexis Wade 2 kills 12 digs 1 ace
Makenna Wilham 1 kill 15 digs 1 ace
Hailee Daigh 21 assists 1 ace
Clarissa Turner 1 block


Happy Honeybears going to state title game


Happy Fans


Wild Honeybears


Happiness leads to hugs

[Teena Lowery]

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