MERCERVILLE, Ohio — South Gallia did dig deep to rally from a late third-set deficit to take a two-games-to-one lead.
However, the visiting Symmes Valley Vikings dug deeper to charge back for the match win.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, they couldn’t put the Vikings away with that 2-1 sets advantage — and the Vikings stormed back to win in five games on Monday night inside a sweltering South Gallia High School gymnasium.
The Rebels lost 25-22, 6-25, 28-26, 18-25 and 8-15, as the non-league contest marked their 2016 volleyball season opener.
Symmes Valley, a member of the Southern Ohio Conference Division I, is 2-1 on the year.
The young Rebels, after a dismal second set in which they only scored six points, staved off a pair of set points (25-24 and 26-25) by the Vikings to rally for the third-game win (28-26).
But a potential clinching game four got away from them, as the Vikings broke a 16-16 tie to score six straight service points — part of nine of the last 11 to force the decisive fifth game.
And, in that fifth set, South Gallia led early at 4-2 and 5-4, but four straight Viking points put Symmes Valley on top for good — as the guests punctuated the triumph by scoring the final six.
Simply put, too many mistakes did the Lady Rebels in — primarily attack and service errors.
Especially in games four and five.
“We’re a young team and we missed 17 serves and 36 hits. We have to focus on getting our hits in and our serves in,” said first-year head coach Sarah Wright. “We got down on ourselves when we had some mistakes and that cost us. I made some rotational errors, which I plan to fix. We’re going to work on things tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday in practice and be ready to compete on Thursday.”
As for Monday, the Rebels rallied from an 18-14 deficit in the opening game to forge a 19-19 tie, as they then broke ties at 21-21 and 22-22 by scoring the final five points.
Olivia Hornsby had a pair of aces, sandwiched around a kill by Taylor Burnette to end the first game.
After leading 2-0 in game two on back-to-back Burnette aces, the Rebels scored just four more points the remainder of the set.
But the Rebels returned from their second-set sleepwalk with an awakening in the third, leading the game until the Vikings went ahead 21-18 — before scoring four consecutive points to regain the cushion at 22-21.
South Gallia did have the Vikings at set point 24-22, but a Rebel attack error — along with back-to-back service aces by Symmes Valley’s Hannah Gates — put the Vikings back in front 25-24.
An exchange of attack errors made it 26-25, as Rachal Colburn collected a thunderous kill for the Rebels to tie it once again at 26-26.
Erin Evans ended the third, and pushed the Rebels ahead two games to one, with a jumping tip kill.
However, with the tilt tied 16-16 in game four, South Gallia gave away too many serves and scoring opportunities on errors — amassing only 10 points the rest of the way.
Hornsby had 13 service points to pace the Rebels, as Evans added eight along with seven assists and five kills.
The sophomore middle hitter Colburn amounted a team-high six kills and two blocks, as Burnette served up a team-high four aces.
Burnette was also an excellent 12-of-13 serving for 92-percent, and 50-of-60 passing for 83-percent.
Gates garnered 22 points with seven aces for the Vikings, while Cierra Ross set for 24 assists.
Taylor Webb with 13 kills and Kinley Patterson with a dozen led the Lawrence Countians in kills.
Webb also registered four blocks.
The Rebels return home, and open Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division action, against Federal Hocking on Thursday.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106