The Lady Raiders volleyball team of Midway High School made the short trip up Highway 421 to Triton on Monday evening. Perhaps first day back-to-school jitters were weighing in the minds of the members of the team as a slow start plagued Midway. They found themselves in uncharted waters as they landed on the wrong side of a 2-0 margin. The Lady Raiders, however, were able to settle down, regroup and rally in impressive fashion for the 3-2 win.
For Midway, the first set is one they’d like to quickly forget. Triton stormed out of the gate en rout to an 8-0 lead before Midway could crack the scoreboard. Even then, the Lady Hawks made it 10-1 as the Lady Raiders were having trouble even executing routine plays. Triton’s lead swelled to as high as 20-6 before the Lady Hawks went on to win 25-15.
In the second set, Midway looked more like the 4-0 team that they were coming in to the game. The Lady Raiders broke a 3-3 tie to make it 5-3, prompting Lady Hawks head coach Wendy Simmons to call a timeout. The timeout didn’t slow Midway, however, as the Lady Raiders built and maintained a lead of 4-5 points throughout the set. But, they couldn’t finish. The Midway lead was at 17-12 when Triton made their move. The Hawks went on a 7-1 run to reclaim the lead at 19-18. Though the Lady Raiders stayed within striking distance, Triton fended them off to close the set 25-22.
Having lost the first two sets put Midway in unfamiliar territory. The Lady Raiders hadn’t faced an 0-2 deficit since Oct. 27, 2015 when they lost 3-0 to Carrboro in the second round the 2A State Volleyball Playoffs. With their backs against the wall, how were they going to respond?
Initially, it looked to be headed to a decisive victory for the Lady Hawks. Late in the set, Triton established a 16-10 lead as they stared victory in the eyes. But Midway returned the favor from set two. The Lady Raiders, assisted by a pair of back-to-back big kills from junior Makayla Chavis, chased the Hawks down to tie the game 19-19. Midway rode a 12-3 rally to establish a late-set lead at 22-19. Triton didn’t go down silently but the Lady Raiders held on for the 25-23 victory to extend the match at 2-1.
Perhaps feeling the frustration from a change in momentum, the Lady Hawks churned in a performance eerily similarly to Midway’s first set performance. The Lady Hawks only tallied 13 points in the set as the Lady Raiders seized control midway through the set on their way to a 25-13 win to tie the match up at 2-2 and force set number five.
In that set, the teams traded a pair of service errors to kick things off Midway took command from their. The Lady Raiders lead grew to 10-4 and got as high as 14-7 before Triton made things interesting. The Lady Hawks reeled off five unanswered points to put pressure on Midway at 14-12 before the Lady Raiders finally closed the door and get the 15-12 win.
After the game, Midway head coach Brandy Wrench acknowledged what went wrong in the first two sets and spoke on what her team corrected to make the comeback.
“Our first set our serve receiving was bad. We never adjusted, we never settled in and we couldn’t finish,” Wrench said. “In the second set, we made some changes and started fighting a little harder, but we didn’t execute our plays and we couldn’t finish. In the final three sets, though, we found our mojo and kept fighting and playing harder.”
“We noticed that our serve receiving had gotten much better, our passing was better and we were executing our plays,” the coach concluded.
While official stats weren’t immediately available, Wrench mentioned that Alyssa Wrench and Caitlyn Holland led the Lady Raiders in kills and Maranda Byrd led the team in digs.
With the win, Midway improves to 5-0 overall and was right back in action on Tuesday as they opened East Central Conference play against Spring Creek. See that the full rundown on that story in Thursday’s edition.