In a match that saw five lead changes the Eustace Lady Bulldogs used late rallies to win a four- set match against the Mineola Lady Jackets last Tuesday night.
Set scores were 17-25, 22-25, 25-20, 25-15.
While the Lady Bulldogs had a clear advantage at the net in this match the Lady Jackets used an improved defensive scheme to stay close in each set. In the first set the Jackets were down 5-3 early but the Lady Jackets were able to use better passing and serve receiving to keep points alive to score. In contrast the Lady Bulldogs used both single and double blocking schemes to neutralize hitting opportunities.
Mineola was unable to gain a lead in the first set losing by three points.
The second set was a much close affair thanks to Mineola’s middle hitter Sabria Dean who had three tip plays that worked effectively against the Eustace block. The biggest turning point for Mineola in the set was when sophomore Meghan Brewington’s back row hit tied the set at 11. Mid-way through the set officials paused play for an unknown reason to review a previous ruling on a point give to Eustace. Head Coach Kerry VanCleave said she felt that stoppage killed her team’s rhythm.
“Set 2 and the debacle with the officials was a momentum sucker and did not do us any good. (The) flip side of that is mental toughness and determination (we need to have) come in to play,” VanCleave said.
The back and forth affair ended in a three-point loss for the Lady Jackets as late hitting by Eustace ended the set.
The third set was the best by far in the match for the Lady Jackets. Libero Kiley Banks played a huge role in the win with countless digs and great serve receive passing as well. The Lady Jackets earned their first lead of the match at 14-13 in the second set. Eustace later went on a 2-0 run before Dean tied the game at 18 on a huge hit. Immediately following that score Mineola went on a 2-0 run of their own to lead 20-18. Brewington later finished off the set with a kill that just hit the outside corner to win the set by three.
“(I thought the) girls did a great job in set 3 of fighting and winning that (set after being down 0-2),” VanCleave said.
However in the fourth set the Lady Jackets seem to run out of gas as they were unable to overcome a 6-0 deficit and lost the final set by 10.
“I feel like we did good things but as usual it’s (been) 10 steps forward, 11 (steps) back and that puts you in a hole. (We have to) be consistent (and) be mentally tough. (We) can’t allow those points that are a matter of taking an extra step to (make a play go without the effort), it all catches up to (you),” VanCleave said.
Kiley Banks finished with three aces and 19 digs. Jessiah Riley had nine kills and nine digs. Meghan Brewington had three aces, four kills, and 10 digs. Sabria dean had 11 kills and two blocks.
On Friday the Lady Jackets also dropped their match against Kemp in three sets with scores of 22-25, 12-25, 15-25.