The Lady Rebels came out on top in a thrilling nonconference match Monday night, winning 31-29, 25-23, 19-25, 26-24.
“We just couldn’t finish,” Science Hill coach Laura Cook said. “This kind of match is why you play the game, I told them. Every point was up for grabs and it could’ve gone either way. ...
“All the seniors are transfers. We’re all transfers. Oddly enough, all the girls just stepped right in and they really meshed together. Everyone played a crucial part.”
Abbey Jayne led South with 16 kills and nine digs. Katie Watson added 10 kills and Makkenzie Compton came through with a double-double of 15 assists and 11 digs. On the defensive side, Meredith St. Clair recorded 36 digs.
For Science Hill, seniors Claire Thomas and Attie Forbes finished with 17 and 11 kills, respectively. Alyssa Neal had 30 assists and the team’s other senior, Meghan Carroll, had 27 digs.
The first set took well over a half-hour before the Lady Rebels finally pulled it out. Science Hill held a 20-19 lead before South fought to a 24-24 tie. Pulling out the set win proved to be a huge momentum boost for South.
“Everybody is getting better at this point in the season. It just takes a little momentum shift to get it going,” South coach Wendy Ratliff said. “I do think we were free-balling way too much. We were just trying to roll the ball over too much.”
Science Hill jumped out to an 8-5 lead in the second set, but South tied it at 11. The Lady Rebels took the game after a late rally.
The breaks finally went the Lady Hilltoppers’ way in the third set, but the fourth turned into another seesaw affair.
In the decisive set, the Lady ’Toppers trailed 15-5 at one point but rallied for the 24-24 tie. Once again, however, the Lady Rebels rose to the challenge and put away the match.
Science Hill plays its final match of the regular season on Tuesday at Volunteer.
South goes on the road for a key conference clash at Elizabethton on Thursday in the final match of the regular season.
Both the 1-AAA and 1-AA district tournaments begin next Monday.