The Lady Bears showed plenty of hustle on the volleyball court Wednesday, but dropped a five-setter to Patrick County.
When the two teams met in Virginia last month, the Lady Cougars swept the Bears 3-0 and won the last two sets by a combined 50-34.
When the Cougars took the first set 25-13, Mount Airy could have folded, but showed resiliency in the next set.
From a 12-11 lead, the Bears ran off four straight points to draw a Patrick County timeout. The last point came off a wild rally where the Bears saved one ball that bounced off the rafters, kept another ball in play that was well off the court and made a dig on a spike attempt.
The home crowd roared its approval.
After the timeout, the Bears scored six more points to force another timeout at 21-11.
The Cougars made a push after that, but couldn’t get close in a 25-16 Bear win.
“We were playing together, covering for each other” and keeping the ball alive, said Coach Kim Lyons. The girls got some momentum going and kept it going throughout the set and into the third set.
The Bears built an 11-5 lead, but Patrick County came back with a 6-1 run to close the margin to a single point.
Mount Airy had a slim 19-17 lead when it ran off four straight points. The last point included a spectacular one-handed save off of a tip by libero Charli Hiatt before Kathryn Beasley put the point away with a slam.
The Bears took the set 25-19 for a 2-1 lead.
In the fourth set, Patrick got on a roll with their outside hitter doing much of the damage.
The hitter was doing a good job of reading the court and using angles and tips to find holes, said Lyons.
The Bears did adjust their defense, but by then they had dug themselves a deep hole and lost 25-17, she said.
Mount Airy started out strong in the final set, but there were a few hitting errors that cost them a couple of points, the coach noted. In a shorter, 15-point set, a few errors can make the difference. The Cougars won 15-10.
The girls kept on fighting and stayed energetic, Lyons said proudly. She told the squad that if they keep that up, the Bears will close out some of these tight sets.
“We have improved greatly since the first meeting,” said the coach. The girls are moving better on the court, anticipating where the ball is going. She said it was great to see bodies hitting the floor and the ball staying in the air.
Beasley led the attack with 15 kills, while Dana Brown and Katie Hicks had eight each.
Brown also set up her teammates for kills with 13 assists. Tessa Rodgers led in that category with 15.
Hiatt led the defense with 12 digs, while Brown and Beasley had 11 each.
Beasley and Katie Hicks finished with five blocks each.
At the service line, Taylor Dollyhigh was 20-20 with five aces. Hiatt was 15-16 with two aces, and Rodgers was 14-15 and two aces. Brown went 15-15.
After back-to-back losses, the Bears fall to 6-10 on the season. That is the same mark as their next opponents as Bishop McGuinness comes to town this afternoon.
Reach Jeff Linville at email@example.com or at 719-1920.