Published 9:58 am Tuesday, October 13, 2009
MERRY HILL – They stood on the brink of elimination.
A loss meant a fourth straight Tarheel Independent Conference championship was all but a pipe dream. Tied with Hobgood Academy atop the league standings, Lawrence Academy trailed the Lady Raiders two games to none in a volleyball match that would have a huge impact on the final standings.
Twice Lawrence stood just two points from a loss that would all but end their TIC championship hopes, but they never quit. Six seniors worked together on their Senior Night to rally back and grab the victory.
The Lady Warriors didn’t have a typical comeback where they roared from behind to roll past the Lady Raiders. Instead, it was a point-by-point battle in which Lawrence simply outlasted Hobgood in the end.
The Lady Raiders rolled to victories of 25-22 and 25-18 before Lawrence came back to win on their Senior Night by scores of 25-23, 27-25 and 15-12.
“It seems we always dig ourselves in a hole, but we were able to mix it up a little on offense and step it up on defense,” said Lawrence Head Volleyball Coach Dr. Ed Clouse.
Trailing two games to none, Lawrence surrendered the first two points of game three before an Ashtyn Mizelle kill. Two points later, Mizelle had a tip and then added an ace that gave the Lady Warriors a 4-3 lead.
Things got tough from there, however, as Hobgood scored six of the next eight points and went ahead 9-5. Mizelle then recorded another kill that made it 9-6.
The rally was short-lived, however, as the Lady Raiders continued to push their lead, reaching a 15-10 advantage before Lawrence started a comeback. Jennifer White sparked the spurt with a kill and then Mizelle had one service e point to close the gap to 15-13.
The Hobgood lead remained two to three points until Ashton Lyle had a kill and then Melissa White recorded an ace as she shared a four-point rally that gave Lawrence a 21-20 lead.
Hobgood eventually led 23-22, but Lawrence would not give way as they won a point on defense and then had a tip from Mizelle to take the lead at 24-23. Lyle served the final point that was recorded on a Mizelle kill as the Lady Warriors staved off a loss by winning 25-23.
Lawrence led early in game four when Melissa White had the first two serving points, one of which came on a Mizelle tip. Casey Belch recorded a tip on defense that gave serve back to the Lady Warriors and then Lyle’s kill made it 4-1 in favor of the Lady Warriors.
Despite a kill and a block by Jennifer White, Hobgood rallied to an 8-7 lead.
The Lady Raiders extended that advantage to 13-8 before Lawrence began a rally of their own. Melissa White scored on three straight serves, two of which came on kills by Ashton Lyle. Lyle and Mizelle each added a kill moments later to close the Lawrence deficit to 17-14.
Hobgood surged ahead 20-16, but the Lady Warriors again came back. Jennifer White and Lyle each had a kill to help the Lady Warriors tie the match at 22-all. Mizelle then had a kill to give Lawrence the lead.
The two teams battled back-and-forth with Lawrence finally coming out on the winning end of a 27-25 score.
In the final set of the match, Lawrence trailed 8-3 early, but rallied back thanks to the heroics of Lyle who had three blocks and two kills down the stretch. Taylor Sexton served a pair of key points to get the Lady Warriors within two and then White rolled off four straight serving points, two of which came thanks to kills by Lyle as Lawrence led 12-10.
With the score deadlocked at 12-all, Lyle had a block that led the Lady Warriors to victory.
Overall, Lyle had five aces, 12 kills, nine blocks and six digs. Mizelle was also outstanding with 15 digs and 11 blocks.
Melissa White led the serving charge with 27-of-28 serving for a stellar 96.4 percent. She also had eight digs.
Casey Belch had 16 digs during the contest while Jennifer White had nine digs and six blocks. Sexton had 24 assists.
The win boosted Lawrence to 9-1 in the Tarheel Independent Conference and 17-1 overall. They travel to Pungo Christian Academy today (Tuesday) for a makeup game in league play.