McDonough volleyball topples Lackey in 4 sets
Teams combined for 64 points in third set
At various points throughout the match on Tuesday evening, McDonough High School senior Rachel Cox subbed into the volleyball match for one of her teammates to serve against visiting Lackey High School.
Like many of her teammates on Tuesday, Cox’s jump serves were either really crisp or really wild, so when she went to the back line to serve for match point with her team up 24-22 in the fourth set onlookers were uncertain what to expect from the senior since her two previous serves that set had resulted in points for Lackey with one serve sailing wide and another landing beyond the opposing back line.
“Since it was match point, some of the girls wanted me to just stay on the ground and hit it over and others wanted me to go for it with another jump serve,” Cox said. “So, I just decided to go for it.”
Cox and her teammates were pleased with the choice as the senior’s sharp serve proved too difficult for Lackey’s Alyson Roberts to pass to one of her Chargers teammates and the Rams prevailed in a long match, 25-22, 21-25, 33-31, 25-22.
At one point early in the fourth set, the Rams had committed four straight service errors and trailed the Chargers, 15-8, thanks to six service errors.
“Our serving was really hit or miss tonight,” McDonough firstyear head coach Erin Phipps said. “Some of the girls who went into serve did really well and then sometimes they had too many
errors. We had nine in the second set and almost that many in the fourth set.”
After falling seven points behind midway through the fourth set, McDonough (2-5 overall) rallied thanks to a brief service run from sophomore Trinity Barrett and another from freshman libero Jalyn Smoot, who had four straight winners to bring the Rams even at 21. Sophomore setter Gillian Cayabyab and sophomore middle hitter Darian Taylor combined for three kills during the run.
“She set the ball up nice and high like I like it,” Taylor said. “She did a good job all night getting the ball to the hitters. It was a tough match, but I’m glad we pulled it out in the end.”
After the teams split the opening two sets, Lackey and McDonough staged an epic struggle in the third set. During a set that would eventually be tied on 12 different occasions, McDonough led by as many as seven points midway through on an ace from Smoot. But the Chargers chipped away and later claimed the lead courtesy of five straight service winners from Jurnee Melendon that included a pair of aces.
After the teams were tied at 15, 18 and 20, Lackey’s Nyla Ayers nearly clinched the third set with four straight winners to lift the Chargers to set point at 24-20. But that run ended on an attack error from Roberts and after the Rams clawed back to tie the set each team had five chances to secure it before McDonough finally did on two straight service winners from Iris Golden, with Olivia Whorl getting the set-winner on a tap at the net.
“Right now we’re playing through a lot of injuries, but the girls are playing with a lot of heart,” Lackey first-year head coach Jonel Barnes said. “It was definitely the best match that we’ve played so far this season. In that last timeout that fourth set, I told them they had to want it more. In matches like this, it just comes down to who wants it more.”
McDonough also won a very tight first set as it never trailed and the set was only tied on two occasions. But each time the Rams appeared on the verge of drawing away, leading by as many as four points on four different occasions, including 24-20, the Chargers responded to keep it close until the set ended on a Roberts serving error.
Lackey then gained the upper hand in the second set and led by as many nine points thanks to service runs from Chelsea Goldring, Roberts and McKia Alves. But McDonough made things interesting when a service run by Joel Deloatch brought the hosts to within 2421 late before a Goldring ace ended that set and brought the match even at one set apiece at that point.
McDonough High School volleyball coaches and players huddle prior to the second set of Tuesday’s match against visiting Lackey. McDonough won the match in four sets, including a prolonged 33-31 victory in the third set.
Players and coaches from Lackey High School huddle prior to the start of Tuesday’s match at McDonough. The Chargers eventually fell to the Rams in four sets, including a prolonged 33-31 fourth set that went in favor of the Rams.