Mount Gilead jumped out to a 2-0 lead over visiting Amanda-Clearcreek in their Saturday sectional volleyball match, but couldn’t hold on to that advantage in suffering a 26-24, 26-24, 23-25, 22-25, 11-15 defeat to end their season.
“We made a lot of unforced errors and that’s always hard,” said head coach Megan Oder. “As soon as we got momentum, we’d make a mistake and that put a damper on our momentum.”
In an evenly-played match, it was hard for either team to control the momentum for extended periods of time. In the first set, the Aces jumped out to an early lead and held a 21-16 lead at one point. However, MG would rally down the stretch. Trailing 23-20, they got four straight points from Riley McCoy to take their first lead at 24-23. After the teams traded defensive points, the Indians got one from Molly Murphy to edge their opponents in the first set.
Mount Gilead then got out to a good start in the second set, getting three points from Grace Mowery, two from Aspen Hatfield and three more from Kortney James to lead 13-5. However, they would watch Amanda battle back.
The Aces took a late lead at 24-23, but the Indians were able to get a defensive stop and then Sicily Carrick tallied two straight points off her serve to put her team one set away from the win.
Two points from McCoy and three from Murphy staked MG to an early 7-4 lead in the third set, but they would struggle to score off their serve after that. The Aces battled back to take a 24-19 lead, but a defensive point and three from Carrick got the Indians within a 24-23 margin before Amanda was able to finish out the set.
Unfortunately for Mount Gilead, the fourth set would go much the same way. Four points by Hatfield helped them lead 10-6 in the early going, but with the score 11-8, the Aces got six straight from Hailey Sowers to take a 14-11 advantage.
While the Indians were able to tie the score at 22-22, they would not be able to get over the hump and lost 25-22 to send the match to a deciding fifth set.
Mount Gilead had to play from behind throughout, as they didn’t score on their first five serving attempts. Amanda jumped out to an 11-4 lead and, despite MG getting three points from Mowery, were able to hold on for a 15-11 win.
Despite the loss, Oder was happy that her team was able to host a playoff game — something the team hasn’t been able to do in some time.
“We were really excited to get to host,” she said. “It’s definitely been a while. It was exciting to play on our home court one last time in front of all our fans.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS