RACINE, Ohio — A comeback for the ages.
The Southern volleyball team dropped the first two games to Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division guest Eastern, Tuesday night in Meigs County. However, the Lady Tornadoes won the final three games to take the match by a 3-2 tally.
The Lady Eagles (8-6, 4-4 TVC Hocking) trailed early in the opening game, but took the lead at 7-6 and never trailed again, en route to a 25-17 victory.
Southern (9-3, 5-2) built an early lead in the second game, and expanded the advantage to as many as seven. Eastern battled back to claim a 21-20 lead on the strength of six consecutive service points by EHS sophomore Morgain Little. The Lady Tornadoes regained the lead at 23-21, but the Green and Gold scored four straight points to take the second game by a 25-23 final.
Eastern charged out to an early lead in the third game, but nine straight points by SHS senior Savannah Bailey helped spark the Lady Tornadoes to a 25-12 victory.
The fourth game featured 13 ties and nine lead changes, including seven lead changes after the teams were tied at 15. The Lady Eagles were two points away from winning the match, but Southern marked three straight points to win the fourth game 25-23 and force a fifth game.
The fifth game saw six ties and three lead changes before Southern claimed the lead for good with a 10-2 run, which gave Southern the game by a 15-8 count and the match by a 3-2 final.
“Once we battled back in the third game, momentum swung our way,” second year Southern head coach Chris Carroll said. “We have so much experience and leadership that I don’t feel has shown up until tonight. I feel like our seniors really led us tonight.”
The Southern service attack was led by Bailey, Madison Maynard and Marlee Maynard, each with 11 points. Senior libero Ali Deem posted seven points, Haley Hill and Cameryn Harmon both added six, while Hannah Hill finished with four service points in the win.
Eastern’s service attack was led by Little with 16 points, followed by libero Elayna Bissell with nine. Kelsey Johnson, Katlyn Barber and Annalisa Boano each finished with five points in the setback, while Morgan Baer added three. Bissell marked a team-best two aces, while Little, Barber and Boano each had one ace.
“We had nothing to lose, we came out fired up and excited,” third year EHS head coach Katie Williams said. “When we have (Southern) up two games to none, we have to finish. You can’t play around with a good team like Southern, which is senior strong and experienced, because just like tonight they’ll battle back and kudos to them.”
At the net the Lady Eagles were led by Barber with 25 kills and six blocks, followed by Boano with 22 kills. Johnson finished with 15 kills and two blocks, Mackenzie Brooks added 11 kills and five blocks, Baer posted two kills and four blocks, while Little contributed two blocks for EHS. Barber led the EHS defense with 28 digs, followed by Boano with 27 and Johnson with 13, while Baer posted a team-high 36 assists.
The Lady Eagles and Lady Tornadoes will clash again on October 13 in Tuppers Plains. Southern will return to the court on Thursday when Waterford visits Racine, while Eastern will be in action again on Monday at Federal Hocking.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.