Fulton had the momentum back and the confidence needed to put away the Prophets and go home victorious. They sent the serve over, and after getting the return from Prophetstown, set up their strongest hitter for the kill. Sophomore Betsy Leonard didn’t miss from the middle, slamming the ball to the ground on the other side of the court to give Fulton the win.
The Steamers celebrated on the court, seniors enjoying their final home victory of their careers and the rest of the team celebrating a hard-fought win against a conference opponent. It also gave Fulton (8-17-3) a .500 record (7-7) in the Three Rivers Conference.
The first match was a character-builder for the Steamers as they fought from behind, down seven points early on at one point, to win 25-23. Fulton had gained the momentum as the first match wound down, taking the lead late after the score had passed 20. They kept the momentum in their favor by beginning the second game with a 5-0 run.
Renkes began that run, serving up two aces to put them ahead early, but the Prophets (10-17, 4-9) found a groove and took the lead as both teams went into double digits. With the score in the early teens, the rotation for the Steamers came back around to Renkes at the service line.
“I knew I had to get my team some points,” she said. “I knew that I had to get my serve down; it couldn’t go long.”
The most consistent server for the Steamers all season, and one of the top servers on the team her entire career with Fulton, Renkes stepped up to the line and again baffled the Prophets serve-receive, racking up nine straight points for the Steamers.
“Ann’s serves tonight definitely helped us out; she brought us a lot of points,” Beiermann said. “We counted on her (Renkes) a lot tonight.”