Alba-Golden, Mineola battle in dual match

Posted 8/24/23

Sometimes it takes a local derby to get the competitive fires burning well.

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Alba-Golden, Mineola battle in dual match


Sometimes it takes a local derby to get the competitive fires burning well.

That was the case last Tuesday as Mineola hosted the New Diana Lady Eagles and the Alba-Golden Lady Panthers for an early-season throw-down.

While New Diana brought a quality squad to Mineola, it was the last match of the day, between Mineola and Alba-Golden, which provided the drama. 

Mineola won the match, 24-26, 25-22, 25-16, 25-21. 

The match demonstrated much promise for both sides in the 2023 campaign.

Each team returned starters, and each team has the physical size and quickness to make all the plays in volleyball.  

Mineola will be anchored this year by the leaping talents of Olivia Hughes and the striking ability of Mahayla McMahon.

Notably, their whole line-up can compete at a high level, and they benefit from the service and back-court presence of  Macy Fischer and Trinadee Jackson.

The Lady Panthers will feature the striking talents of Lainey Teel, and the timing of blockers Alexis Wilmut, Kalli Trimble, Hailey Crutchfield and Lainey Wright. The energy of Erin Langston will always be a force for the squad.

At first blush, it appeared that the Lady Jackets were going to make short work of the Lady Panthers.

Two quick kills off of blocks on the left wing and an early 7-point rally put the home side up 11-4.

The Lady Panthers did not concede. They battled. Two kill shots from Teel and a drop shot by Trimble highlighted the fightback and tied the game at 15. 

The game remained tight to the finish with the score knotted at 23 and 24. A block by Crutchfield and a kill by Wilmut were critical scores in the end game.

Alba-Golden, which looked adrift in a straight-set loss to New Diana in the previous match, had found their groove. 

Game two was an exceptionally close affair. The game was tied nine times, before two kills by McMahon and a service ace from Carmen Carrasco gave Mineola the edge. The win came on an emphatic block.

Mineola retained the best rudder control in the match by recording a convincing game three win. Alba-Golden managed only one mid-game rally but it was book-ended by runs from the Lady Jackets. Hughes banged home a kill to secure the 9-point win.

At this point, many in the gym likely anticipated a quick game four. It was not to be. The Lady Panthers dominated the first half of the game, taking a 7-point lead and scoring in a variety of ways. 

After a Mineola time-out, the momentum began to turn, with Mineola scoring at a 2:1 rate until the game was tied at 17. Aces by Caroline Castleberry and Hughes helped to bring home a 25-21 game four win and the match victory.