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Senior Night for Dodger volleyball

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Alexis Hiracheta returns a shot for Fort Dodge on Thursday against Johnston. For more photos, please visit CU.messengernews.net

In her first season as Fort Dodge head coach, Martha Mericle isn’t looking for an immediate turnaround.

She knows it’s going to be a process, and every step forward is a building block.

On Thursday night, the Dodgers (1-8 overall) gave a glimpse of what could be despite losing in three games to Johnston (2-2).

The Dragons defeated the Dodgers by scores of 25-14, 25-17 and 25-23.

“We are right there,” Mericle said. “We just have to build on the little things, and know that we can improve. We have to take baby steps and get better each time out.

“We have to keep building on the steps that we take forward.”

In the final set, the Dodgers moved in the right direction, nearly extending the match after trailing 5-0 from the start.

The Dragons built an early 10-5 edge. The Dodgers answered with an 11-3 run to cut the deficit to 13-12.

Johnston went back up 23-21, lead before the Dodgers scored the next two points to tie the contest at 23-all. The Dragons tallied the final two points for the sweep.

“I was proud of the way that we were able to keep fighting,” Mericle said. “But, you can’t start a match down 5-0. The good thing is, we made a few mistakes that we can correct.

“We are still learning to play together. We have to take steps forward as a team.”

In Game 1, the Dodgers got off to a quick start with a 5-2 lead before the Dragons went on a 14-4 run to put the game out of reach.

The teams went toe-to-toe in the second set, as the Dodgers started with a 10-8 run before Johnston closed with 12-2 rally, eventually going on for the victory.

Junior Alexis Hiracheta led FDSH at the service line, going 9-for-11. Senior Kiana Touney was the kills leader with 10. Juniors Tjaden Pettit-Johnston and Brooke Hansen had three kills each.

Senior Olivia Bell had 12 assists and sophomore Maggie Elsbecker had three. Junior Tory Bennett had 15 digs and Touney recorded eight.

Hiracheta and senior Cheyenne Miller-Hameed had seven digs each.

Seniors Bell, Miller-Hameed, Hansen, Touney, Daesha McDonald, Chloe Wertz, Alexis Bass and Jacy Daniel were honored for their time on the court as Dodgers.

“It’s crazy to have a group of eight seniors,” Mericle said. “It was great to be able to honor them. This is their final time as Dodgers, so they are ready to take charge and keep getting better as a team.”

The Dodgers are back in action on Tuesday when they travel to face Ankeny Centennial. Action is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m.

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