Stomp and shout: Lady Eagles rally back
Hair pulled back, braided in pig tails, members of the Lanesville volleyball team were ready for a battle.
With each stomp to the floor and scream to the ceiling, the Lady Eagles put together a comeback to capture the season-opening match Monday night.
Trailing two games, Lanesville went nose and nose with Rock Creek Academy in game three to eek out a win. Only brief moments within the first few points of games four and five saw the Lady Eagles trail. When they grabbed the lead, they didn’t relinquish it, resulting in a 22-25, 20-25, 26-24, 25-19, 15-9 victory at home.
‘I saw a lot of good things out of some girls I wasn’t sure would step up, but they did,’ coach Pamela Tobbe said. ‘I only saw it in spurts last year, but they showed me a lot today. Rock Creek is a big team for us. An amazing win.’
Lanesville led in game one then fizzled. The opposite happened in game two. Rock Creek had a double-digit edge but held off a Lanesville rally. Kills by Nia Tomes, Megan Husband and Skylar Belden fueled the spurt, bringing the Lady Eagles within two points, 22-20.
Rock Creek held steady and took a two-game lead behind a smash from Hailey Page.
Game three was tight. Seventeen ties showed on the purple scoreboard through the battle. Rock Creek pulled ahead by three at one point, 12-9, but Lanesville scored with back-row kills from Belden and a service ace by Emily Davis.
Lanesville never led by more than two points in game three, inching ahead 24-22 with a Tomes smash and Rock Creek miscue to set up game point.
The Lady Lions extended play with a Benedicte Nzombi winner.
Belden put things away, tipping a ball that rolled along the tape on the floor of Rock Creek’s side, along with a game-clinching block. The elation eventually carried over for Lanesville.
‘A lot of our chemistry has a lot to do with the girls playing together on JV last year,’ Tobbe said. ‘We added a few of the varsity players from last year, so that helps. We had them all summer in a similar rotation. We were waiting on Lela Board to get cleared from South Central to play. The clear for her to play today was a relief.’
Two seniors, Davis and Board, are the lone upperclassmen. Junior setter Alexis Kaufer found a groove during play and put the offense in motion.
With the leadership, momentum swung the way of Lanesville in game four. Kaufer, Belden and Davis had aggressive service aces. A five-point swing, paced by a pair of Davis aces, gave Lanesville a commanding 18-10 lead.
Out of a late timeout, Rock Creek showed a little comeback, scoring five straight point to crawl within three, 22-19.
Regrouped, Lanesville forced game five when Kaufer set a Lindsey Ash winner and Husband and Belden combined for a block.
‘We do have a senior (Davis) on the court most of the time who leads by playing,’ Tobbe said. ‘Our junior setter, Alexis Kaufer, is an awesome athlete and motivation toward the rest of the girls. She’s loud, upbeat and stomps the ground. She had the nickname, ‘The Thumper’.’
Lanesville began the race to 15 in game three with a Kaufer ace. Lanna Shaffer and Tomes contributed one as well, pressing the Lady Eagles ahead 8-3.
Belden, the team leader in kills, went down with an injury as her team led by three points.
‘We’ll see how Skylar comes out. She took an elbow to the temple,’ Tobbe said.
Even without the all-position play of Belden on the floor, Lanesville closed the night winning six of the last nine points. Husband had a key solo block on a Lady Lions’ overpass while Kaufer contributed the final winner.
‘Rock Creek lost three or four seniors, who were good, quality seniors, so we didn’t know what we were coming into besides (Nzombi), who is active all around and can jump out of this room,’ Tobbe said.
The ability to not give up was something Tobbe was glad to witness.
‘I have two seniors, one being a transfer from South Central, and five juniors,’ Tobbe said. ‘It’s a very different lineup from last year when we had eight seniors. Them starting with that intensity and fighting back from those first two games was really good to see.’
Lanesville is set to host Cannelton tomorrow (Thursday) and South Central on Tuesday.