Lady Eagles battle back, claim four-set win at Straughn

Published 2:30 pm Wednesday, October 4, 2023

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The third time was the charm as Pleasant Home overcame a nine-point deficit in the second set for a 3-1 win against Straughn in a varsity volleyball match Monday night.

The Lady Eagles improved to 14-5 with a 19-25, 26-24, 25-18, 25-12 win that was their first in three tries over their cross-county rivals this season. The Lady Tigers fell to 16-7 on the year.

“I thought it was a good match between two good teams. I thought our girls came to play, and we got the flow after the first set once we got into a rhythm. We’ve been working on our flow and taking care of the ball when it’s on our side of the net the last couple of days. You can’t give away points, and it showed a lot of resiliency on our bunch to claw back from nine down and come back to win that second set. Like any other sport, that momentum switches, but I’m really proud of my girls,” PHS Head Coach Tony Wilson said.

Pleasant Home took an early lead as Addi Hughes had a block for a 4-1 lead in the first set. Straughn fought back within one at 6-5 before Hailey Ward delivered two kills and widened the margin to 12-8. The visitors continued to remain in front and increased their advantage to 15-11. Ora Hall drew the hosts even at 15-15 with a kill as the two teams went back and forth and forced four ties. The Lady Eagles led 19-18 before Mallory Hall started a 7-0 home surge with back-to-back kills. The Lady Tigers took their first lead at 20-19 thanks to Hall and held on for a 1-0 lead.

Blakeley Smith hit a blistering kill, and Emily Nelson had an ace as Straughn shot out to a 5-0 lead in the second set. Smith and Audrey Lindsey each knocked a kill and took the lead to 8-2. Ward kept Pleasant Home close with a pair of kills and cut the deficit to 8-4. Claire Howe had two kills and an ace as the hosts went on a 10-2 spree and took a 16-6 lead. Hall put the lead at 19-10 with a block before the visitors stormed back. Meredith Wilson notched two kills and a block, while a kill from Hughes capped a 10-1 run and evened the score at 20-20. Another tie came when Baylee Henderson had an ace at the 22-22 point. Howe put the Lady Tigers at set point, but a kill from Kayden Weaver, ace by Wilson, and block from Hughes drew the Lady Eagles at 1-1.

The third set was a carbon copy of the first with the visitors opening up another lead. Ward had two kills for a 5-3 lead, but Lindsey had a kill followed by an ace from Hall and trimmed the gap to 6-5. The Lady Eagles broke away with an 11-2 run that saw Wilson grab two kills and Ivy Youngblood earn a kill. Smith and Lindsey each had a kill and kept the Lady Tigers close at 21-14. Straughn was able to get within six on a kill from Smith, but Pleasant Home held on and took a 2-1 lead in the match.

Riding their momentum, Pleasant Home took a 5-1 lead in the fourth set. Howe and Kyleigh Jackson each delivered a kill and sliced the hole to 10-8. Straughn was unable to draw closer as Wilson boomed three kills during an 11-1 spree for a 19-9 advantage. Hall ended the run with a kill, and the Lady Tigers got within nine at 21-12. Hughes scored an ace for a 23-12 lead, and Ward took it to match point at 24-12 before the Lady Eagles finished off the match.

Both teams are on the road for their next matches. Straughn travels to Brantley on Thursday, Oct. 5, while Pleasant Home heads to W.S. Neal on Monday, Oct. 9.