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Lady Tigers defeat Hillsboro in 5 sets

The Highland County Press - Staff Photo - Create Article
McClain's Katie Cook, left, and Harley Peabody are pictured Tuesday against Hillsboro. (HCP Photos/Jim Jones)
Jim Jones, The Highland County Press

It was a match like most when McClain and Hillsboro get together. The place or records don’t really seem to matter, and that’s how it went down Tuesday night when the Lady Tigers needed five sets to pull out an exciting volleyball nail-biter on their home floor over their league and county rivals.

McClain jumped out to an early 2-0 advantage after winning the first two sets by 25-18 and 25-22 scores, but both were very competitive and well played by both teams.

“Rivalry games are always tough, and you never know what’s going to happen,” McClain head coach Taylor Alsop said. “I think my girls got a little to comfortable after jumping out to that 2-0 lead, and I told them that this is not a team that’s going to sit back and lay down.”

In the third game, Hillsboro seemed to do what Coach Alsop warned, and they jumped out to a quick 7-0 advantage from the serving of sophomore Kayla Seeling.

“Kayla (Seeling) has been struggling serving the ball all year, but in that third set she really proved herself,” said Hillsboro head coach Jordan Walker. “We started slowly in those first two sets, but after that my girls showed some hunger and a lot of heart.”

The Lady Indians went on to win the third game 25-19 and forced a fifth game by taking game four with a 25-21 win. In the final game, it was back-and-forth excitement, and both teams gave everything they had and left it all on the floor as McClain was able to pull out the hard-earned 15-13 win and take the match, 3-2.

“I am beyond thrilled with our overall effort tonight,” Walker said. “We finally showed up and showed some grit and mental toughness, which is what we’ve been lacking most of the year.

“Our seniors really stepped up and played really hard, just super proud.”

Coach Alsop had lots of praise after the match for several of her players. “Lily Barnes served very well today, and I thought all of my hitters put in the work at the net,” she said. “Brenna (Wright), Anna (Eikenberry), Kylea (Toney), Madalyn (Griffin), Reagan (Wisecup) and Anzli (Beatty) were all hitting really well.

“We just need to get better at being uncomfortable because when we’re comfortable, we get a little shaky and let teams come back like we did tonight. I thought our passing in the back was really good too, and we are starting to eliminate errors, except for the third and fourth sets today.

“But other than that, I’m happy with everyone’s effort and really impressed that we kept our composure and held on at the end for the win,” continued Alsop.

The Lady Tigers host Jackson on Thursday, Sept. 21 in another tough conference battle. Hillsboro also has a FAC match Thursday at Washington.