East Hamilton Holds Off Sale Creek For 3-2 Volleyball Win

Lady Panthers Overcome 2-0 Deficit, But Fall In Fifth Set

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - by Larry Fleming

East Hamilton blew a 2-0 lead, but rebounded in the fifth set Tuesday to beat gutsy Sale Creek 3-2 in high school volleyball action at East Hamilton.

“We knew they were a good team, probably the best team we’ve played this season, but I think we gave up after the second game,” East Hamilton’s Jordyn Griffith said. “I think we knew we had it in the bag because we’re a good team too.

We know how to work together.”

The Lady Hurricanes built a 13-7 lead in the finale, fretted while the Lady Panthers rallied to within 13-11 and got a winning return from Taryn Robinson and a slap shot by Griffith for the hard-fought victory.

Set scores were 25-21, 25-17, 22-25, 22-25, 15-11.

“We couldn’t worry about the (previous) two games,” the Lady Hurricanes’ Madison Hayes said. “At one point I felt some pressure, but knew our team could maybe get make some crazy plays, pull together and win the last game.”

After battling hard for wins in the first two sets, East Hamilton (12-2) watched the Lady Panthers (27-12) storm back, setting up the fifth-game showdown.

“I told the kids that Sale Creek is a good team and they’re not going to give this last game to you,” East Hamilton coach Bruna Langner said. “You’re going to have to work hard, and that’s what happened. In the end, the team that was more mentally tough won the game.”

The finale turned on a clutch run by the Lady ‘Canes. After back-to-back unforced errors allowed Sale Creek to close to within 7-6, East Hamilton scored six of the next seven points for a 13-advantage.

Hillary English started the spree with a tap, Hayes sandwiched two bullet-like aces around a McKenna Hayes slap shot off a Sale Creek service return, the Lady Panthers had an unforced error and Emma Mitchell finished it with a kill.

The Lady Panthers took advantage of two errors by the Lady ‘Canes, Abbey Burton scored on a two-hand push and Madysun Steele’s sledgehammer kill cut Sale Creek deficit to 13-11.

Robinson and Griffith followed with their winning shots that closed out the match.

“Playing a good team like Sale Creek is good for us at this point in the season, Langner said. “This week we still play Hixson, which is in our district and we play Signal Mountain and Cleveland next week. That will be a tough stretch.

“Today, it was two really good teams that had good and bad moments.”

Sale Creek’s veteran coach Debbie Hill, while disappointed her team wasn’t able to pull out a win, still found solace in the fact the squad responded well after falling behind early.

“We had good effort on the court,” Hill said. “We found a little bit of fire, we got upset and got mad and played a little defense. We found what we had been looking for and they responded well in what was one of the best efforts we’ve had in a five-setter all year against a very athletic team.”

A 15-year-old sophomore and one of Chattanooga’s most sought basketball recruits, Hayes got the Lady ‘Canes (12-2) off and running with a strong first set. She had six kills, a block and an ace among her 12 points and had a slap-shot winner to decide the opening game.

East Hamilton scored 10 of the final 14 points to capture the second set and put Sale Creek (27-12) in a bind.

The Lady Panthers pulled away to a 14-5 lead in the third set, but the Lady ‘Canes tied the game at 22-all. Sale Creek scored the final three points on Avery Cox’s slap and two unforced errors by East Hamilton.

With the fourth game knotted at 16-16, went on a 7-2 run for a 23-18 advantage. Madysun Steele’s kill gave Sale Creek a 24-20 lead, Madison Hayes countered with back-to-back kills and Abbey Burton finished off the game for the Lady Panthers with one of her 14 kills in the match.


Sale Creek

Jayda Perry – 14 digs, 30 assists, 3 aces

Avery Cox – 5 kills, 18 digs

Lillie Morgan – 1 dig

Madysun Steele – 8 kills, 14 digs, 1 assist, 3 blocks

Gracie Janow – 4 kills

Emilee White – 4 digs, 1 ace

Morgan Weatherford – 1 kill, 26 digs, 1 ace

Sydney Gibson – 1 kill, 4 digs, 2 blocks

Allison Smith – 1 dig

East Hamilton did not provide statistics

(Contact Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com and on Twitter @larryfleming44)

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