CLINTON — One of the more brilliant River Queens plays Tuesday came while Clinton clung to its first lead of the match against No. 2 Bettendorf. It also happened not to involve Monique Harris touching the ball.
The River Queens were down two sets to none with the Bulldogs eyeing both a sweep and the outright Mississippi Athletic Conference title in Set 3. The teams played to a 5-5 tie, when Bettendorf ripped another of its many tough, line-drive float serves, the kind that plagued Clinton's passers throughout the night. This time, Jordan Nelson sent sailing a high, tight pass near the zone, and Harris leaped to place 10 fingers on the ball as it crossed the threshold between Clinton's court and its opponents. Harris then motioned as if she was pushing the ball forward, never once making contact.
Instead, the ball landed without incident on Bettendorf's side — 6-5 River Queens — a rare moment when Clinton caught one of the best teams in Iowa napping.
"I've never had the other team fall for that, I guess," Harris said.
It was a night that was as much about high-stakes MAC volleyball as it was about recapping her decorated four-year varsity career. Harris was recognized alongside teammates Nelson, Shannon Shovlain, Gabby Haan, Hannah Dehner and Erin Wenzel on Senior Night, where her accolades as an all-state player, All-American, all-conference recipient were detailed. After the match, she was officially recognized by co-coach Mark Massey as the all-time leader in assists, having passed Selena Eggers’ 21-year record with last week's win over Pleasant Valley.
That was about as good as it got for the River Queens, though. Bettendorf responded to the deficit with a 14-4 run on its way to a 25-15 third-set victory, showcasing why it remains the team to beat in the MAC. The Bulldogs (32-2, 9-0 in the MAC) stopped Clinton's best hitters (12 team blocks), aced its best passers (eight aces to two) and handled a typically sturdy River Queens defense.