MASON CITY — With a young team this year, there were bound to be growing pains for the Mason City volleyball team.

The Mohawks have clawed and battled to try and improve each time out, but the results haven’t quite shown that yet. Coach Nicole Hunter does believe there’s a possibility of a breakthrough late in the year, though, once they figure out how to maintain runs in key spots.

On Tuesday night with rival Fort Dodge in town, the Mohawks put together a few of those runs, but ultimately were unable to match the Dodgers as they fell in three sets, 25-17, 25-23, 25-14.

“That’s one thing I talked to them about in the huddle. We’d get down by a couple of points, get down by five points and we’d build it back up, and then we’d lose it again,” Hunter said. “One of the things we talked about was we have to work on climbing up and staying up and maintaining that the entire match.”

In the opening set, Mason City had sophomore Grace Tobin working on the outside as well as Megan Hollander in the middle, but the Mohawks were still unable to grab a lead as the Dodgers picked up an eight-point set victory.

The second set saw a Mason City team willing to fight all the way to the final point.

The Mohawks faced a 24-19 deficit late in the match, but thanks to Tobin’s serving, they crawled within a point, down 24-23, but a serve into the net ended the rally.

Mason City kept it tight early in the third set before Fort Dodge pulled away for an 11-point set victory to seal the match.

Tobin led the Mohawks with eight kills and two ace serves, plus added nine digs.

“The thing is that she continues to improve,” Hunter said. “She’s the kind of player that she wants me to tell her ‘Is that all you got?’ And she just wants to be aggressive and smart, and you can’t ask for more from a player.

“She’s a leader and she knows her skills, and everybody else is mimicking and follow her lead.”

Hollander added six kills, Addy Walker had a team-high 15 digs and Bobbi Tilkes added seven digs.

Beth Murman led the Dodgers’ attack with 11 kills and Kacee Gollob added eight.

Mason City (2-16) plays in a tournament at Waverly-Shell Rock on Saturday.

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