In a marathon battle of two evenly matched teams last Tuesday in Hawesville, the Lady Cougar volleyball team outlasted the Hancock County Lady Hornets three sets to one, two of which went into overtime, 25-23, 32-30, 24-26, 25-14.
The freshman girls won their match in straight sets, 21-11, 21-7, while the JV girls had to go to three sets to win 2-1 (13-21, 21-18, 21-16). Freshman Maddie Duvall had great serving games in both those matches, finishing with 15 aces, nine in the JV match and six in the freshman contest.
Trailing 2-3 in the first set, the Lady Cougars reeled off five straight points to take a lead they would hold for awhile. Junior Julie Carroll had a pair of kills in the run, while Meredith Pawley and Grace White had one each.
An ace by Ally Felix gave the Lady Cougars their largest lead of the set, six points at 14-8, but the Lady Hornets battled back to take a one-point lead, 23-22.
But a Pawley kill gave the serve back to Grayson County tied at 23-23. Junior Briannah Wagner then came up with a big kill off a Hancock block to make it set-point, 24-23. Another Felix ace gave the Lady Cougar a one-set lead,
The Lady Cougars got off to a terrible start in the second set, falling behind by as many as seven points twice, the last time coming at 17-10, before they began battling back.
A White kill for a sideout was the start of a 7-0 Lady Cougar run that gave them their first lead of the set, 19-18. The two teams then stayed within a point or two of one another the rest of the way.
A kill by Hancock’s Becca Wilson gave her team a set-point at 24-21, but a Pawley kill gave the ball back to Grayson County. A Lady Hornet hitting error made it a one-point deficit before a Miranda Boaz ace tied it at 24-24.
Going into overtime, Grayson County fended off four Hancock set points, while the Lady Hornets dealt with a pair of set points from their end.
A Boaz kill on two staved off the final Hancock set-point to tie 30-30 and give the serve to White. A Hancock hitting error gave the Lady Cougars a set-point at 31-30 and White responded with an ace to give the Lady Cougars a two-set lead.
The third set was back-and-forth from the start until midway through the set, when three straight Hancock points broke a 15-15 tie. Grayson County came back to within a point of the lead at 18-17, but Hancock answered with four straight to go up by five, 22-17.
But the Lady Cougars were not done yet, coming back to take a 24-23 lead for a match-point, but a hitting error gave the ball back to the Lady Hornets and they served out to win the set 26-24.
The final set was all Grayson County after the Lady Cougars raced out to an early 8-1 lead. The Lady Hornets were never closer than six points the rest of the way. At match-point, leading by 10 points, 24-14, Boaz had another kill on two to give Grayson County the win.
The Lady Cougars never led in the opening set and fell behind by as many as nine points. They closed to within four points at 17-13, but the Lady Hornets scored the last four points to take the first set.
Grayson County began turning things around in the second set. Trailing by two, 7-5, the Lady Cougars scored five straight, including two aces by Katie Mullins, to lead by three, 10-7.
Hancock battled back to lead again, 18-16, but a service error gave the ball to Grayson County and Duvall took the serve. Three straight aces gave Grayson County a set-point at 20-18, and a fourth allowed the Lady Cougars to tie the match at a set apiece.
Grayson County never trailed in the deciding set. After leading by as many as eight points, 14-6, the Lady Cougars allowed the hosts to tie things at 15-15, but they quickly came back.
Duvall took the serve with her team leading by two, 18-16 and she served out for the win. Following a kill by Alexis Hart, Duvall served an ace to bring it to match-point, then served another ace to seal the victory.
The first set was remarkably unusual in that the first nine points scored off of the serve were scored by aces. Duvall served four straight to start the game. Following a sideout, Hancock had an ace to make it 4-2.
A Grayson County sideout gave the serve to Shelby Pierce, and she followed with four straight aces to make it 8-2. The game settled into a more regular pattern after that, but the Lady Cougars were in complete control.
Hancock staved off a set-point at 20-10, but a serving error followed to give the first set win to Grayson County.
Two more Duvall aces gave Grayson County an early 4-0 lead and they were never headed afterward. Seven unanswered points, including two aces by Briley Berry put the Lady Cougars in front by 10 points, 12-2.
An ace off the tape by Sam Milliner moved it to match-point at 20-6, before Hancock earned a sideout. But a Hancock service error followed to give the young Lady Cougars the win.
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016.