Clinton hosted Lakewood for a non-conference volleyball match on Wednesday afternoon. The two teams met last week at Lakewood and played a five-set thriller that saw the Lady Dark Horses overcome a deficit to edge out a 3-2 win. The same script seemed to be playing out again on Wednesday, but this time around the Lady Horses went up 2-0 only to have Lakewood roar back and win the final three sets to take the 3-2 win.
The first set was a back-and-forth affair that Clinton eventually took control of down the stretch to take a 25-22 first set win. The Lady Horses seemed to build on the momentum they had built in the first set, handily overpowering Lakewood to take a 25-14 second set win and hold a commanding 2 sets to 0 lead.
It looked as if the Lady Dark Horses were poised to sweep the Lady Leopards and head to an early dinner. The Lady Leps, however had a different plan. Lakewood regrouped and came out in the third set looking like a different team, building an early 10 point lead and coasting to a commanding 25-14 win to cut the Clinton lead to 2-1.
Lakewood ran out to an 11-3 lead in the fourth set before the Lady Horses stumbled to their feet for a rally to cut the lead to 15-14. But Lakewood dismissed any thoughts Clinton had of ending the match, outscoring the Lady Horses 10-4 down the stretch to win the fourth set 25-18. The Lady Leopards continued their dominating play in the fifth and deciding set with a 15-6 win to close out the match 3 sets to 2.
After the game, Lakewood head coach Shelia Davidson commented on her team’s strong desire to win.
“I am proud of the girls for not giving up. I can teach them the X’s and O’s but that will to win and not give up is something you can’t coach,” she said. “I can’t say enough about how proud I am of them not giving up when they were 2 sets down, they didn’t panic and handled the pressure of a close match.”
Davidson also talked about using the preseason schedule to develop team chemistry, adding “we have a young team and I used four different line-ups tonight, put a lot of girls in different positions. I am proud of the way they handled those adjustments. This is what the preseason is for, to find the right combination of players to get the best results.”
Clinton coach Jennifer Edgerton was disappointed with the Lady Dark Horses’ failure to close out the match with a two=-set lead.
“We just couldn’t finish. We have to learn to close teams out when we get them down,” Edgerton remarked. “You have to give Lakewood a lot of credit — they didn’t give up and kept plugging away and we couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity we had. We will go back to work tomorrow and try to correct some of the unforced errors.”
The Lady Dark Horses were led by Jasmine Ford with 12 blocks and seven spikes. Corey Spell added six kills and Taylor Spell chipped in seven blocks and two kills. Statistics for the Lady Leopards were not available at press time.
The win improves Lakewood’s record to 3-1 while Clinton drops to 1-4 on the young season. The Lady Dark Horses will open Four County Conference play at Pender next Thursday, Sept. 1.