MOUND CITY, Mo. — The West Nodaway Rockets entered the night trying to end a five-game losing streak. The Mound City Panthers had other ideas and defeated the Rockets 2-0 (25-12, 25-12) at Mound City High School on Thursday night.

“My seniors have a rough high school career and I’ve said it time and time again that they have to get out of that mindset that they’re going to lose,” West Nodaway coach Selina Talmadge said.

The Panthers jumped on the Rockets early in the first set. After the two teams went back-and-forth to start the set, Mound City got the first point of the set. That point was the start of a 7-0 run for the Panthers. During the early run, Mound City’s Hannah Wedlock had two aces and Victoria Nauman had two kills. 

The Rockets ended the run when senior Brittany McIntyre blocked a potential spike at the net. West Nodaway was unable to capitalize with their serve and Mound City pushed the lead to 10-1. The Rockets showed a little life in scoring back-to-back points for the first time in the set on two kills from junior Lexi Moore. 

The Panthers quickly made it an 11-point lead on an ace from Cameron Laukemper. Laukemper’s next serve went out of bounds and a kill from West Nodaway’s Mackenzie Finney brought the Rockets to within nine of Mound City. Talmadge said that the fight her team shows during this tough part of the season is something that she preaches to her team at practice.

“We’ve had a couple of rough games where their attitudes have gotten the best of them,” Talmadge said. “That’s one thing I stress is that you’re representing your school and it doesn’t matter what that scoreboard says, you’re still going to West Nodaway that next day.”

Mound City then went on a run of aces, getting two from Paige Quilty and three from Emma Gibson, giving the Panthers a commanding 21-7 lead. Mound City then got two-straight kills from Nauman, who had four total in the first set. Panthers coach Kayla Schoonover loves what she has seen this season from Nauman.

“She dominates, she can play all positions well,” Schoonover said. “She has this energy that keeps the team going.”

The Panthers had nine kills and nine aces in the first set. The Rockets had seven kills and one ace in the first set. McIntyre and Moore each led with two kills.

West Nodaway tried taking the momentum to start the second set of the match. The Rockets found themselves with their first lead of the match. The 4-2 lead did not last long as the Panthers answered back with a 8-2 run. Nauman’s serves helped dig Mound City out of the hole and out in front by eight with four aces. 

The Rockets did their best to keep pace with the Panthers, but 14-9 was the closest that they would get. Laukemper and Nauman were too much for West Nodaway in the second set as the two combined for six kills and five aces. 

The Rockets had seven kills in the second set, McIntyre led the team with three of the seven kills. McIntyre finished the match with five kills.

The loss dropped West Nodaway to 5-12 on the season and was their sixth-straight defeat. Talmadge hopes that her team can find the confidence that they had at the beginning of the season for their final four games of the season. 

“We started the season playing some teams that they felt confident about playing,” Talmadge said. “At this point in the season, I feel like it’s draining them because that confidence that they had is going down with them.”

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