Hosting Edmonson County’s Lady Cats on Volley for the Cure night at Cougar Gym, the Lady Cougar varsity volleyball team suffered a heartbreaking 1-2 loss (25-12, 24-26, 20-25).
In the earlier games, the freshman team won in split sets 17-14, 14-17, 17-14, while the JV squad blitzed the visitors in straight sets, 21-16, 21-8.
The Lady Cougars were coming off their best win of the season the night before when they defeated the Whitesville Lady Raiders in straight sets, 26-24,. 26-24.
Coming off that high, the Lady Cougars put it to the visitors in the first set, scoring the first five points, then never allowing the Lady Cats to get closer than three points of the lead afterward.
A pair of aces from senior Jessi Slayton and a Lady Cat hitting error pushed the Grayson County lead to 10 points at 17-7.
Five straight points, including a pair of kills from senior Jessika Young, sent the lead to 14 points, 23-9.
Edmonson County fought off one set-point, but Young got up to block hard-hitting Lily Woosley for the point that gave the Lady Cougars the first set, 25-12.
The Lady Cats grabbed a slight early lead and held it for much of the second set. The lead went from two, to three, then to four and five points. Trailing by four, 15-19, Amber Dotson took the serve and the Lady Cougars got back into it. A Dotson ace and a couple of Edmonson hitting errors led to four points to tie the score at 19-19.
The Lady Cougars were helped in the second set by some shoddy serving by the visitors. The Lady Cats had eight serving errors in the set to keep the Lady Cougars in the hunt. A service error at 23-23 gave the Lady Cougars a match-point at 24-23, but freshman Bailey Martin put a ball into the net to tie it at 24-24.
Two straight kills from Woosley then gave the set to the visitors, setting up the rubber match in the third set.
Edmonson continued its serving woes in the final set, serving wildly three more times, but in the end they prevailed.
Six straight Lady Cougar points, including two aces from Dotson and a massive block on Woosley by Young, gave the Lady Cougars a six-point lead, at 15-9, but the Lady Cats came roaring back.
Five straight points brought them back to within a point at 15-14. Tied at 18-18, Edmonson got a kill from Woosley and an ace from Carly Raymer to take a two-point lead, 18-20.
Four straight rally points brought it to 20-22 with Edmonson’s Sierra Turley serving. Turley led off with an ace, then Ariel Hodge put away a kill to bring it to match-point.
Then came perhaps the most disappointing call of the season. With both teams battling hard and the Lady Cougars needing a rally point to stay in the match, the head referee called Grayson County for a lift, giving the match to the Lady Cats.
In a match that was as hard-fought as this one was, for the referee to make the deciding call seemed heartless, when especially when there had been several close calls on both sides that had not been called.
Regardless, the Lady Cats deserved the win after being trounced in the first set, then battling back.
The Lady Cougars never trailed in the first set, though the score stayed close until midway through. Leading by two, 8-6, Grayson got three straight points, including a pair of aces from Katelyn Bratcher, to go up by five points, 11-6.
The lead see-sawed between three and four points until the Lady Cats scored three straight to pull to within two at 18-16.
After the Lady Cougars won a side-out, and with Bratcher serving, the Lady Cougars got a kill from Kateline Metcalfe to take it to set-point, then won the next volley to win the first set, 21-16.
The match was pretty much decided after the Lady Cougars took the first seven points of the second set. Machala Perkins, Sara Jenkins and Shelby Arnold all had kills and Shelby Watson had an ace in the opening salvo. The lady Cats were never closer than five points the rest of the way.
At match-point, 20-8, Arnold put away a kill to give the Lady Cougars the match.
This was a tense, close match from the start, with neither team leading by more than four points in the first two sets.
In the first set, Edmonson County was serving down just a point, 12-11, when Bratcher got a kill to give her team the serve at 13-11. An ace by Bailey Elder and a kill by Arianna Filippone gave the Lady Cougars their largest lead of the set at 15-11.
Edmonson County fought off one set-point, but with Edmonson’s Mikayla Lindsey serving, Shelby Watkins put away a kill to give the Lady Cougars the first-set win.
In the second set, Grayson County led most of the way, but leading at 13-13, gave up two points and the lead.
Trailing by a point and with Edmonson serving, the Lady Cougars were called for being in the net, bringing it to set-point at 14-16. When the Lady Cougars were guilty of a hitting error on the next volley, the match was tied at a set apiece.
Grayson County grabbed an early 3-1 lead and never gave it back. Leading by four, 12-8, the Lady Cougars got a pair of kills from Watkins and two aces from Miranda Boaz to bring it to match-point, 16-10.
The Lady Cougars were called for being in the net again, giving the ball back to the visitors. Two Grayson hitting errors and a kill by Shasta Smith made things uncomfortable for the Lady Cougars at 16-14, but the Lady Cats put the next volley into the net and Grayson County had the hard-fought win.