A fired-up Lakewood volleyball squad traveled over to Midway on Wednesday night for some non-conference volleyball action. They met an equally fired-up Lady Raiders team as the two fought until the very end in a battle of epic proportions.
Battling frequent momentum swings and a crowd that grew rowdier with every point scored, Midway held on to defeat the Lady Leopards 3-2, narrowly winning the final set 15-13 for the victory.
“Fans didn’t pay $6 for nothing — our team loves being in intense games,” said Midway coach Brandy Wrench. “It makes us work harder and really focus on what we are doing as a team that needs to be fixed and the things that we are doing great that we want to keep doing more of. Overall, it was a fight for the win, all the way down to the last point. Lakewood never gives up and they certainly didn’t give up tonight. They are truly a great team.”
An early, high-octane match that was back and forth quickly transitioned to a battle that saw Midway open up a bit of lead. Overcoming early game excitement, the Lady Raiders settled in and won the first set fairly convincingly, 25-14.
The second set started out very similar, each team exchanging points in an early set back and forth contest. This time it was Lakewood that established their footing and began to pull away. The Lady Leopards built a 15-11 lead prior to a Midway timeout before extending that lead to 17-11 out of the timeout. Lakewood ran that lead to 20-13, and went on to win the set 25-21 after staving off a Lady Raiders comeback attempt.
Set three found Midway right back in form, starting off with a 4-1 lead that grew to a commanding 17-8. The Lady Leopards mounted a small rally, but the Lady Raiders closed the door, winning 25-18 to reclaim the lead at 2-1.
With their backs against the wall in the fourth set, the Lady Leopards didn’t back down. Lakewood led early, but Midway hung around and the two teams exchanged the momentum. Midway took the lead on several occasions about halfway through the match, but the Lady Leopards reclaimed control at 17-16 and would go on to win the set 25-20 to force the fifth and final set.
In the fifth set, emotions were plenty high as the game hinged on every crucial point. The set begin in with controversy as Lakewood took an early 1-0 lead on a questionable line ruling. Midway answered, taking a 4-3 lead. Lakewood battled back, though, scoring three unanswered to make it 6-4.
Right back came Midway, forcing two Lakewood timeouts as they took leads of 9-7 and 12-9. The Lady Leps wouldn’t back down as they reeled off three straight once again to tie the game up at 12-12 then again at 13-13. The Lady Leopards ultimately did themselves in as they hit consecutive shots out of bounds to end the game, handing Midway the thrilling 15-13 set win and 3-2 match victory.
With the win, Midway improves to 10-2 overall and is 5-0 in the East Central 2A Conference. They are scheduled to take on Goldsboro on Tuesday in Spivey’s Corner.
Also of note for the Raiders, Leah Williams won the NCHSAA performer of the week last week. She gained this award by compiling 53 digs, 49 serve receptions and 30 service points in two matches as she surpassed 1,000 career digs. Being the main driving force for Midway, Williams has led the team to sole possession of first place in the conference.
For Lakewood, they drop to 9-3 overall and remain 4-0 in the Carolina 1A Conference. They will be back in action on Thursday, returning home against Rosewood.
Reach Daron Barefoot at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.