Following a straight-sets victory over Union the night before, the Lakewood Lady Leopards returned to action on Wednesday night, renewing their rivalry against the Lady Bulldogs of Princeton High School. The Lady Leopards ultimately fell in a hard-fought five-set battle.
Lakewood and Princeton traded blows early on during the first set, but Lakewood claimed a 17-14 lead over the visiting Bulldogs. The Lady Leopards then restricted Princeton to only four more points in the set, going on a 8-4 run to close out a first set victory, 25-21.
Falling behind early, the Bulldogs knew a second set victory would do yeoman’s work to pull the upset on the road. Lakewood opened with a 6-1 lead in the second set, but Princeton worked hard to tie the contest and eventually led 13-12. Lady Leopards head coach Sheila Davidson called for time as her team gave up two more points to fall behind, 15-12. The timeout worked, for a short time, giving her Lady Leopards a boost to tie it 19 apiece. This newfound momentum didn’t last long, however, as Princeton pulled away to secure the 25-22 second set win.
With the game tied at one set apiece, Princeton took a major step forward to securing the win.
Things weren’t rosy for the Lady Bulldogs early on in the third set, however, as Lakewood took a 5-2 lead. Princeton, though, was successful in storming back and forcing Davidson to call time once again as the Lady Leopards fell behind 9-7. Now sporting a 20-13 lead, Princeton seemed to have all the momentum, but the pendulum swung back and forth as each team went on runs to either expand the lead or cut it dramatically. Princeton hung on, though, for the 25-21 third set win to go ahead 2-1.
Needing a fourth set victory to extend the game, Lakewood took every blow Princeton had. After tied at 12-12, both teams volleyed the ball, as well as the lead. until the Lady Bulldogs called for time. The score being 21-20, in favor of Princeton, Lakewood put it into another gear, rallying from behind, winning 25-23. With Lakewood’s fourth set win the game was forced to a decisive fifth set.
One team had to come out on top, but neither team wanted to stop. It was close all the way through as Princeton held a 12-11 lead before Lakewood called timeout. Out of the timeout, the Lady Bulldogs clamped down and secured the win over rival Lakewood, 3 sets to 2.
“Losing in five sets, it could’ve gone either way tonight,” remarked Davidson after her team’s loss. “Unfortunately, we didn’t handle the pressure when it counted and our team chemistry was off when we needed it most. Now, we need to regroup and refocus,” Davidson concluded.
With the Lakewood 10-game win streak snapped, the Lady Leopards fall to 13-3 overall. They will be back in action on the road against Hobbton on Thursday.
Reach Sports Editor Daron Barefoot at [email protected]