FORT MADISON — The Fort Madison High School volleyball team dug one too many holes.
Fairfield climbed out of one in the fourth game to prevent elimination.
Facing each other for the third time this season, 14th-ranked Fairfield was forced to go the distance and ousted unranked Fort Madison, 25-21, 19-25, 23-25, 27-25, 15-8, in the semifinals of the Class 4A Region 8 tournament in the Hound Dome Tuesday night.
Fairfield (31-6) advances to the regional championship Monday against No. 2 Cedar Rapids Xavier (26-8) at Cedar Rapids. That winner earns a berth in the state tournament, set for Nov. 6-9 at the US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids.
"It's all about our errors," Fort Madison coach Kent Bailey said. "We kept hitting balls in the net. We got in a hole every game that we had to dig out of. That's hard to do."
The final game was competitive for just two points, at 1-1. Then Fairfield took leads of of 4-1, 10-4 and 14-6. The Bloodhounds had a miniature rally, creeping closer on a Jassmine Bass kill and a Fairfield hitting error, but the Trojans' Kara Jeffrey, a freshman, dinked for the match point.
The first four games were dog fights.
In the fourth, the Bloodhounds took the lead twice, then Fairfield crept to a 20-14 cushion. Fort Madison narrowed the gap to three points with a Lauren Bailey kill, a Fairfield error and an ace by Gracie Pumphrey. The Trojans reached game point at 24-21, then seemed to be self-destructing.
A Fairfield serving error, a spiking error and a double hit let Fort Madison back into the game at 24-24. The Trojans scored on Alison Godwin's block, but Jeffrey served out of bounds. It was 25-25. Godwin took over, scoring on a tip and a kill to win 27-25.
The first game was tied 10 times, the last at 17-17. Fairfield crawled to a 25-21 win.
Fort Madison won the next two games. In the second game, a double block by Bass and Braxton McGhghy of Jeffrey's spike gave Fort Madison its biggest lead of the night at 19-12. An errant Fairfield serve gave Fort Madison the game point.
The Bloodhounds climbed out of two holes in the third game. Trailing 6-1, Fort Madison battled back to take their first lead at 9-8 on Josie Pumphrey's ace serve, but the Trojans went up 16-14. The game was tied three more times before Fairfield took a 21-19 lead on a Godwin kill and a Jeffrey ace. Fort Madison scored six of the last eight points and won the game on Gracie Pumphrey's ace serve.
Fort Madison junior Jillian Wiseman led all hitters with 28 kills. She had just two errors in 59 spikes. Bass added 12. Kaeli Hutson had nine kills and led the Bloodhound defense with 28 digs. Olivia Williams also had nine kills. Lauren Bailey had 57 assists.
Godwin led Fairfield with 24 kills and Jeffrey had 13.
Fort Madison ended its season at 20-12. The Bloodhounds split with Fairfield in the regular season, winning in three games at Fairfield and falling in five at Fort Madison.
"We served well," Kent Bailey said. "We passed well and when we hit, not tip, when we hit we scored. I think nerves took over. The first time we played them, we didn't make any errors and we beat them in three games. The last two (matches) went five games. They gutted it out."
Bailey was proud of his five seniors — Hutson, Bass, Josie Pumphrey, Williams and McGhghy. "All five are great kids," Bailey said. "They're great leaders. It was a great environment for the games. They did a good job. They gave us cohesiveness. You didn't see the bickering. We didn't have friction."
Kills — Kara Jeffrey 13, Alison Godwin 24, Grace Stever 5, Julia Fritz 8, Jillian Dunlap 1, Alexis Jones 1, Chloe Stever 1.
Serving (aces) — Jeffrey 3, Allison Reblng 2, Olivia Roberts 1.
Blocks — Jeffeey 2, Godwin 4, Fritz 1.
Kills — Jillian Wiseman 28, Kaeli Hutson 9, Jassmine Bass 12, Lauren Bailey 2, Olivia Williams 9, Braxton McGhghy3.
Assists — Josie Pumphrey 2, Hutson 1, Bailey 57, Gracie Pumphrey 1.
Serving — J Pumphrey 16-19 (1d ace), Hutson 15-15, Bailey 17-18 (1 ace), Williams 19-20 (1 ace), G Pumphrey 14-15 (2 aces).
Blocks —Wiseman 2, Hutson 1, Bass 1, McGhghy 1.
Digs — J Pumphrey 25, Wiseman 1, Hutson 28, Bass 1, Bailey 10, Williams 14, G Pumphrey 9, Nadia Boeding 1.