There’s a large chasm between going into a third set tied up at 1-1 or up 2-0. A young Madison County squad rose to the occasion in a pivotal set second at home against rival William Monroe to roll to a 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-16) win in a match that was closer than the final score initially appears.
“Winning that second, that’s everything right there, if you’re down 2-0, it’s so tough to fight back from,” said Mountaineers assistant coach Carol Nowakoski. “That made game three a lot easier for us. We were able to get some momentum and keep it going.”
Madison raced out to a 7-1 start in the first set, but in what was a theme all night, one rally was counter punched with another. Monroe sat at an 18-10 deficit but cut things to 21-17 to for a Mountaineers timeout. Madison was able to keep the distance as the two squads traded points and pick up a 1-0 lead with a 25-21 win.
The second set saw the Dragons go up early 9-5 with libero Alexis Wayland leading a defensive push for Monroe and hitters Alexis Lam and Emily Faris connecting up front. Madison managed to knot things up at 12-12, and from there it was tense all the way up to 20-20. Madison was able to close out the set with a 5-1 run that featured four service points from Logyn Estes along the way to make it a 2-0 match.
“Our outside hitters really stepped it up as the night went along, they were hitting their spots,” said Madison setter Makenna Santinga. “I think what really helped us in the second was our serving. We got back up. Once got things to 20-20 we took things from there.”
The third set saw both squads come out even with the Dragons up 9-7. But the Mountaineers saved their biggest run for the final game with freshman Ava Jenkins picking up 10 service points in a row to make it 17-9.
“My teammates really helped out there getting all those points,” Jekins said. “We just kept getting the ball over, kept serving and it was really just a great team effort there.”
Madison went up 21-11 forcing a Monroe timeout, and while things were even the rest of the way, there simply wasn’t enough time for the Dragons to make things like the first two sets.
“We were down a couple of girls which always hurts but I’m really proud of the girls, we had a lot of them in different positions and they kept it together,” said Monroe caoch Leah Wimmer. “One thing we worked on was when we got down, we didn’t stay down. We kept working.”
On the night, Santinga finished with 19 assists, seven digs and six kills. Allie Burbridge led the offense with seven kills. Cassandra Smith led the defense with 10 digs. At the service line Jenkins had seven aces while Estes finished with five.
Monroe hosts Spotswood on Thursday while Madison travels to Orange County.