FULTON - The South Pontotoc Lady Cougars played one of their best matches of the year last Tuesday, taking three of four sets against Itawamba AHS (25-21, 11-25, 25-23, 25-21) on the road to pick up another Division 2-4A win.
Emma Kate Hill and Kendra Blackmon got the Lady Indians on the board first with a pair of strong spikes.
Maggie Caldwell and Ryleigh Kate McVay hit winners to even the score for the Lady Cougars at 2-all. McVay soon added another smash and an ace, followed by a kill point from Hailey Rackley. Kara Fleming set McVay for a strong kill point as the Lady Cougars opened up a 15-12 lead.
South continued to play good team ball, as Morgan Gunter set Caldwell for a winner. Then the combo of Caldwell to Gunter to McVay for a kill gave the Lady Cats a 17-14 lead.
Gunter set McVay for another smash and subsequently added a serving ace. Playing the libero position, Avery Hendon dug an AHS shot and passed to Rackley, who set Kealey Ward for a kill point. Caldwell got a great dig at the net and passed to Rackley for a winner. Fleming made a terrific save, and Caldwell finished the point. Gunter then set Rackley for the set winner, as the Lady Cougars took it 25-21.
The Lady Indians’ Chloe McClain served a pair of aces, and Emma Kate Hill added a kill point as AHS surged to an early lead in the second set.
Rackley stuffed a shot at the net to get the Lady Cougars on the board, followed by another winner. A stuff from McVay pulled South to within five at 10-5. An ace from McVay and a nicely placed winner just inside the back line from Ward helped to slow the Lady Indians’ surge, but Itawamba took the second set handily 25-11.
Gunter had an ace to start the Lady Cougars’ scoring in the third set. Fleming set Rackley for a nice winner, and an overhand strike by Caldwell from the setter position brought South even with AHS at 3-all. Ward added an ace, and the combo of Hendon to Fleming to Rackley for a kill gave the Lady Cougars a 7-4 lead.
Fleming continued setting the ball skillfully, positioning it for McVay to add a kill for an 8-5 lead. A perfectly placed ace from Caldwell and a kill by McVay from the middle hitter position pushed South in front 14-11.
Kendra Blackmon hit a nifty overhand shot with lots of topspin, as the Lady Indians pulled ahead 18-17.
South’s Caldwell served an ace to tie the set at 20. Then Gunter passed to Kealey Ward for tap over the net, and the Lady Cougars pulled away for good. Hailey Rackley hit a shot that AHS knocked out-of-bounds for the final point in the set, as the Lady Cougars won 25-23.
Mallory Parker swatted a shot over the net with one hand to get the Lady Indians ahead early in the fourth set. Fleming set Caldwell for a kill, and with an ace from Ward the Lady Cougars pulled even at 4-all.
The one-two punch of Fleming to McVay teamed up on back-to-back sets and spikes. Then Gunter set McVay for kill as the Lady Cougars pulled ahead 8-7.
Fleming threaded a perfectly placed ace into the Lady Indians’ defense, and Gunter set McVay for a topspin overhand winner. McVay added another point from the middle hitter position.
Ward passed to Rackley for a winning shot, and Rackley followed with a serving ace. Ward bumped a shot to Gunter, who set Caldwell for a kill from the front setter position, and the Lady Cats moved ahead 18-16. Gunter forgoed the set on a second touch and surprised the Lady Indians’ defense with a winner down the line. Ward leaped and nailed a cross-court winner, and Gunter set Rackley to put the Lady Cougars ahead 23-19.
An ace from McVay and a winner from Gunter sealed the set 25-21 and the match by the score of 3-1.