INGOMAR – Pine Grove’s focus was on when it counted in Tuesday’s volleyball division match against Ingomar.
The visiting Lady Panthers won 3-2 (15-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-27, 15-12) in the Class 1, Region 2 opener for both first-year programs.
“The difference is we focused in late,” Pine Grove coach Justin Jordan said. “It started in the fourth set. We’ve gone five sets with them every time we’ve played. Everybody knows who’s serving, everybody knows what’s going on.
“We found a way to focus in on that fifth set. That made the difference.”
Pine Grove improved to 6-5 overall and to 1-0 in the division. Ingomar saw its record slide to 1-6 overall and to 0-1 in the division.
Ingomar’s lone win this season was a 3-2 non-division victory against the Lady Panthers. One of Pine Grove’s wins was an earlier five-set, non-division match against the Lady Falcons.
“We just don’t know how to win at the end,” Ingomar coach Andy Wilbanks said. “That’s what it boils down to. I thought we did some things decent tonight, but it just comes down to knowing how to win.”
Ingomar opened the match strong, racing out to an 11-3 lead behind the strong serving of Rylie Ozbirn. She finished with the match with five service aces and two kills.
Pine Grove rallied for four- and five-point wins to take a 2-1 lead. Two kills and a blocked shot by Kaylee Haynes were crucial for the Lady Panthers in the second set. Sydney Carter added two kills down the stretch and helped Haynes and Pine Grove have success at the net.
“Anytime Carter and Haynes are both down there it’s going to turn out pretty good for us,” Jordan said. “They block really well and hit really well. They’re able to get up over the net.”
Ingomar eighth grade outside hitter Brooklyn Wicker served up a winning ace in the fourth set to give the Lady Falcons a two-point win and force a fifth set.
Kills by Camleigh Ball, Macie Phifer, Ozbirn and Wicker helped Ingomar take an 11-10 lead in the 15-point final set. The Lady Falcons had rallied from being down 7-1 after three service aces by Pine Grove’s Ellie Fryar. She led her team with six total aces.
“She’s just a competitor, especially late in the game,” Jordan said. “She made the difference there.”
Katie Beth Hall paced Ingomar with six aces and two kills. Lindsey Dillard added four aces.