The GCHS volleyball team made it a 2-0 start for the early season Thursday evening as they defeated the Hancock County Hornets 2-1 ( 15-25, 25-8, 25-16) in Hawesville.
Making it an even better night for the Cougars, both the freshman and JV teams also won. The freshmen won in straight sets 17-9, 17-12, and the JV also took straight sets, 22-20, 21-12.
The Cougars got off to a terrible start in the first set and never got things together. The Hornets scored the first four points of the game and twice led by as many as seven points, the final time coming at 5-12.
The Cougars began playing a little better after that, and were able to pull to within a single point, 10-11 following a pair of Hancock hitting errors. But the Hornets quickly went up by five again.
Hancock was leading by four points, 15-19 when Madison Morris took the serve and finished out the win with six straight points, including an ace.
The Hornets scored the first two points of the second set, but that would turn out to be their only lead of the night. Katelyn Bratcher took the serve for the Cougars and she had three aces in a 12-0 Cougar run that gave them a comfortable 12-2 lead.
The Hornets cut the lead to seven points at 14-7, but five straight points, including a pair of kills by Kelsey Embry, pushed the lead to 12 points at 19-7.
Leading 20-8, Embry took the serve and closed out the win. Embry’s first serve was an ace, and Amber Dotson had a kill to bring it to set point. Shelby Arnold then capped the win with a kill to even the match at a set apiece.
The third set started nearly the same way the second did. Hancock scored the first two points before Bratcher took the serve and gave the Cougars a lead. Seven straight points, including a kill by Katelyn Joyce, put the Cougars in front to stay.
The Cougars increased their lead to 10 points, 15-5, before the Hornets began battling back. Four straight points brought them to within five points of the lead, 16-11 before a Dotson kill stopped the run.
The Cougars pushed the lead back up to seven points, 20-13 before the two teams began trading side-outs. Jessi Slayton took the serve for the Cougars at match point, 24-16, and served an ace to finish off the match and send her team home happy.
The opening set was a close one from start to finish as the two teams traded the lead. The Cougars took an early 8-5 lead, only to see the Hornets come back and lead by a point twice, the last time at 11-12.
The Cougars came back to take two-point leads twice before the Hornets tied things at 15-15. Following a Hancock service error, Karli Blaine served three straight Cougar points to give them a 19-15 lead, but the Hornets rallied right back to tie it again at 19-19.
Hancock was called for being in the net, and Grayson County had its first set point at 20-19, but a hitting error gave the ball back to the Hornets at 20-20.
Another serving error gave the ball back to Grayson County and this time they won the next point to give them the overtime win, 22-20.
The second set was all Grayson County. Megan Mudd had a pair of aces during a 4-0 run that put the Cougars on top 7-1. They quickly increased their lead to eight points, 10-2.
Hancock was able to pull back to within five points of the lead at 14-9, but they would never be closer.
Leading 19-12, the Cougars won the next point on a Hancock hitting error to bring it to match point, and when Shelby Watkins served an ace, the Cougars had the win.
This was the youngest Cougars’ first regular season match of the year, and they made it a good one. After the Hornets scored the first two points of the match, Grayson County came back to take a lead they would not give up. Watkins served three aces in a 5-0 run that gave the Cougars a 6-2 lead.
The Cougars still led by two points, 11-9, when Ciara Meredith served out the win. After the Cougars brought it to set point at 16-9, Meredith closed it out by serving an ace to end the set.
Hancock sprinted out to an early five-point lead, 3-8, in the second set before the Cougars began to bounce back. A Meredith ace began a 4-0 Cougar run that tied things at 8-8.
After the Hornets went back up by three points, 8-11, Miranda Boaz took the serve for the Cougars and served four aces as the Cougars grabbed a 15-11 lead.
The Hornets stopped the run with a kill from Heather Chappell, but a Cougar kill by Bailey Elder gave the Cougars the ball serving at match point. When the Hornets were unable to return the ball on the next volley, the freshman Cougars had their first win.