The Lady Blue Devils (2-1, 2-0) found a higher gear to turn up their play when things got close to defeat Wise Central 3-0 on the Lady Warriors’ home court.
“That’s growing up,” Gate City coach Amy Reed said of her team’s determination in all three sets to pull away with the 25-20, 25-22, 26-24 win over the Lady Warriors (5-3, 0-1).
OVERCOMING BAD SERVES
Gate City struggled with its service game, losing several points on service errors.
“We didn’t control the baseline very well with our serves,” said Reed. “We’re not normally a team that misses a lot of serves but we missed some tonight.
“The great thing was they came together with that team toughness. They had it going on when it was time to get it on. They took care of business. We wish it was a team that had solid play all night so they didn’t get themselves in a dogfight. But when it came down to the end, they finished it and took care of business.”
Gate City’s hardest work came in the third set.
The Lady Blue Devils trailed Central 15-9 at one point before slowly chipping away at the lead and eventually tying the set at 20-20 on a kill from Sarah Thompson.
The two teams swapped point for point the rest of the way until a service error and return error by Central sealed the set and match win for Gate City.
“That mentality they showed inching back and finishing showed a lot of character for this team and what it can do,” said Reed.
The loss was a disappointing one for Central in the Mountain 7 coaching debut of first-year head coach Jessica Sturgill.
“My girls fought really hard, but we just didn’t execute at crucial moments in the game,” Sturgill said. “They’re a great hitting team and that’s something our girls haven’t seen much of this year. It was quite an adjustment just to get used to that.”
Gate City got 13 kills from Kinslee Hammonds, while Thompson added 12 kills and Kaley Jenkins finished with 34 assists.
For Central, Megan VanDyke had 13 kills, while Caitlynn Maggard finished with 23 assists and nine digs. Hannah McAmis added 18 digs and Rylee Duncan had nine.