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Fairfield Lady Lions add 6th SHAC win; defeat Whiteoak in 4 sets

The Highland County Press - Staff Photo - Create Article
Members of the Fairfield Lady Lions team, including (l-r) McKinley Cox, Kelsey Clark, Jobey Hattan, Mackenzie Anderson, Remi Moon and Jadi Howland, celebrate during their four-set win at Whiteoak. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
Stephen Forsha, The Highland County Press

LEESBURG — The Fairfield Lady Lions staked their claim to first place in Division II of the Southern Hills Athletic Conference Thursday night by going on the road and defeating Highland County counterpart, Whiteoak in four sets.

The Lady Lions won sets one, three and four by scores of 25-16, 25-13 and 25-13, and Whiteoak won the second set at 27-25.

Fairfield head coach Jerrica Stackhouse spoke about the conference win.

“The girls did really well, and I was hoping they would control the tempo and fast pace of all the sets,” she said. “We kind of got down on that second set, but the girls battled back. It stinks we lost that second set, but the girls did well.”

Fairfield opened the first set with a run of four consecutive points off two points that were scored off kills by Jobey Hattan and an ace by McKinley Cox.

WHS came back with a point by Brianna Hill, followed by cutting the FHS lead in half with a point scored by Jaylie Parr.

The Lady Lions extended their lead with points by Hattan and Mackenzie Anderson for a 6-2 score as Whiteoak called a timeout.

Following the stoppage in play, Whiteoak added a third point with the help of a play at the net by Adrionna Phillips, only to have Fairfield answer with another point scored off a hit by Anderson.

Whiteoak’s Lydia Carr answered with a kill, and the two teams continued to battle for points, with Fairfield eventually holding a 10-6 lead as their sixth point was scored by Remi Moon.

The FHS lead increased to 13-7 with an ace by Cox, but Whiteoak didn’t back down as they got back to within three points of tying the score at 17-14 with a point by Hill.

Fairfield answered with points from Anderson and Hattan and aces from Jadi Howland for an eventual 22-15 lead.

Plays at the net by both Cox and Kelsey Clark put the Lady Lions’ lead at 24-16, and the final point of the first set was scored off Whiteoak hitting the ball out of play.

“The first game the girls did exactly everything we practiced and prepared for,” Stackhouse said. “They made a lot of improvement playing on Tuesday against Ripley as well.”

The second set was the longest and closest set of the SHAC match as WHS win by a 27-25 score, with the set having seven tied scores from 2-2 all the way
way to 25-25.

Fairfield scored the first two points of the set, only to see WHS answer the feat, and from there the score was tied again at six and seven points, as WHS broke the tie and took a 10-7 lead with help from Carr at the net, a point by Claire Ames and an ace from Madison Schum.

After a Fairfield timeout, WHS added to their advantage with another point off a serve by Schum. The lead went to 14-7 in favor of WHS as Hill added to the Lady ’Cats lead.

As Whiteoak built a 15-9 lead, then at 16-11, the Lady Lions rallied to tie the score at 16-16 with points by Cox with an ace, and two kills by Hattan, and the score was tied at 16 as WHS hit their own side of the net.

WHS settled down following a timeout, and regained the lead with a play at the net by Parr, then another point from Hill put the Lady ’Cats ahead by two points at 18-16.

The Lady ’Cats lead went to 20-18 following a point, and after increasing their lead to 23-19, FHS called a timeout.

Fairfield rallied a second time with points by Anderson and Clark for a 23-22 score still in favor of Whiteoak.

After a 24-22 lead built by WHS, Hattan brought Fairfield to a tied score at 24 with two consecutive points.

The score was tied at 25 with Carr of WHS and Hattan of Fairfield each putting points on the board.

WHS broke the tie scoring the final two points, including a point from Reagan Newton for the 27-25 set two win.

Fairfield led from start to finish in set three with Cox starting the set with two points off serves, and after a 2-2 score, FHS took a 6-2 lead with Emily Taylor scoring the fourth point for Fairfield at the net.

Whiteoak’s Kylee Hamm made it a 6-3 score, but FHS gained a 10-7 lead as the two SHAC foes continued to fight for the lead.

The Lady Lions continued to hold control of the third set, as they pulled away for a 12-point win, with the team scoring five straight points to end the set, including two aces by Hattan to gain the win.

Set four was close as the score was tied six times, resulting in a 7-7 score, but after Fairfield was first to score the eighth point of the match, they didn’t look back and held the lead for the remainder of set four.

FHS took a 10-8 lead with a point by Moon, and later Moon had an ace for a 12-8 advantage.

Another ace by Moon added to Fairfield’s lead, and as the set continued to play out, a serve by Clark lifted the Lady Lions ahead by six points at 16-10.

FHS kept the lead, and the fourth set and match ended with a point scored by Anderson for a 25-16 set win, and a 3-1 match victory for Fairfield in conference play.

Coach Stackhouse spoke about returning to the court this week following a lengthy break due to the county fair.

“Coming back after fair break is always tough,” she said. “That first game after fair really kicks you in the butt, but you have to make those changes, pick the pace back up and make up time from that week off.”

The win moves Fairfield to an overall record of 6-4 with a SHAC Division II first-place record of 6-0.

“This was a good win in the SHAC standings, but we can’t get too comfortable,” Stackhouse said. “Everybody in our conference is tough.”

Whiteoak is now 6-2 in the SHAC standings (second place in Div. II) and 8-3 overall.