The Madisonville volleyball team fought their way back from a two games to one deficit at home to take the fifth match over Normangee and earn a victory in their first regular season matchup on Friday.
“We started out strong in the first game and were ready to go,” saId head volleyball Coach Kristen Hooten. “I think we need to work on keeping that intensity up for an entire game and not getting down on ourselves.”
Grace Williamson of the Lady Mustangs energized the team from the service line to start games one and five. In the first match, Williamson gave Madisonville a 6-0 advantage before they went on to win 25-16. Despite her surge of four in a row in the rubber match, the Panthers were able to take a 10-9 advantage before Hooten used a timeout in preparation for the final stretch (All matches are played to 25 except for the deciding fifth, which is played to 15).
“I just told them to keep fighting,” said Hooten. “We had battled back from too much adversity after those two losses in the middle and were trailing by just one point. I told them to keep up the intensity and not to quit.”
The Lady Mustangs did just that. But after building a 13-12 lead, Normangee tied it up and earned possession of the ball with a chance to seal the deal with two points. However, the Panthers picked the wrong time to miss a serve and lose the lead. Madisonville was able to close out the win on the ensuing possession, 15-13.
Along with Williamson, Khyra Cooper was instrumental in energizing the team when they needed it most. After two losses in the second and third matches by scores of 25-15 and 25-19, Madisonville found their mojo in game four. The Lady Mustangs forced a rubber match with a 25-21 victory with the help of multiple vicious spikes courtesy of Cooper, including three in one possession to tie the match at nine at the time.
“The difference between the first two wins and the two losses was the difference in energy,” said Hooten. “We had some players really step up when we needed them, and everybody can feed off of the energy of a leader like that.”
The Lady Mustangs were able to battle back for the win despite the absence of starting setter Raegan Olvera.
Madisonville was back at it last night with a home contest against Lake Creek. They are scheduled to compete in a tournament in Leon over the weekend and will return to MHS to host North Zulch on Tuesday.