Bulldogs improve, place sixth at BIT
Only a handful of points kept the Baldwin High School volleyball team from placing fifth in its home tournament Saturday.
Instead, the Bulldogs placed sixth in the Baldwin Invitational Tournament, going 3-3 on the day. Last year Baldwin placed eighth at the event.
"It went a lot better than last year," senior Alex Bergan said. "We played really well; competed well against some very good teams. I was very proud of the things we accomplished."
Coach Kelly Brown was pleased with the tournament and saw many good things from her team, especially on the offensive side.
"The tournament went very well," Brown said. "The girls played well. We went 3-3 and I saw a lot of great things out of the girls. I saw a lot of improvement. The girls were very offensive. Ashely Tucker and Olivia Catloth led us in kills."
Baldwin found itself in the consolation bracket finals Saturday afternoon against an Oskaloosa team that beat BHS for seventh place last year in three games.
Both team battled back and forth during both games, but Baldwin found itself on the losing end of both. Oskaloosa won the match, 25-23, 25-22.
"We were tired and we didn't wake up until about halfway through the second game," Brown said. "We realized we could beat that team, but we weren't being as aggressive as we needed to be."
Bergan and fellow senior Callie Craig agreed that they could have beat Oskaloosa, but fatigue hit the Bulldogs during their six match of the day.
"It was a little disappointing," Bergan said. "We had already had a lot of games under our belt and we were slowing down. I wish we would have come out with that last win, but we played well."
Craig said BHS played hard, but was exhausted during the final match.
"We played well," Craig said. "We were really tired at the end of the day. We could have beat Oskaloosa, but we still played well."
Baldwin did defeat Wellsville in straight sets during the opening round of the consolation bracket. BHS won 25-19 and 15-17.
"Against Wellsville, we came off of an hour wait, so the girls were dead tired," Brown said. "Their bodies were showing it and they could have played a lot better. Hopefully, the next time we see them we will be a better team."
Before the brackets were filled out, each of the 10 teams in the tournament played four games in the pool play. Baldwin beat Osawatomie (25-15, 25-23) to begin the morning Saturday and later beat Perry-Lecompton (25-12, 25-17).
"We beat Osawatomie and Perry in two games," Brown said. "Osawatomie wasn't what I would call a tough match, but for being first thing in the morning, the girls did a nice job. Everybody saw the court against Perry."
The Bulldogs lost to Mill Valley (25-17, 25-9) and eventual champ Hayden (25-10, 25-12).
Although the Bulldogs had hoped to finish higher in the tournament and get another win, they were happy with the improvement throughout the day.
"We've improved a lot," Bergan said. "We have a lot more options this year with offense and defense. We have a strong defense and good hitters on offense. We have improved so much since the first week of practice."
Brown said she has moved up two more players to the varsity team, hoping it will make her BHS team even more well-rounded.
"It was a great tournament," Brown said. "We have a lot of things to look forward to with this group. I am working with 14 kids on varsity, because I am trying to get a few more things worked in."
Baldwin will host its only home match of the year Tuesday at BHS. It will be senior night for the Bulldogs. The action begins at 5 p.m.
"It's our only home game, so hopefully there will be a lot of people here for the senior night," Craig said.