By Carey Phillips
Smoky Mountain avenged an earlier loss and took a thrilling 23-25, 25-22, 17-25, 25-15, 15-11 Mountain Seven Conference volleyball victory over Pisgah on Sept. 21 at the SM gym.
“This match was most impressive,” Coach Melissa Hill said. “I’ve never seen these Lady Mustangs dig as deep as they did. They played with heart. They played with every ounce of skill that they had. Our passes were great and serves were good as were blocking and hitting all around. That is how you play volleyball.”
Macy Wike served five points, including two aces, and Alexa Anderson had a kill as the Lady Mustangs went up 10-6 in the fifth set. The lead reached 13-8 as Olivia Rice served two points, with Greenlee Flynn providing a block and Kennedy Stewman having a kill. The match ended on a side out when a hit by the Sugar Bears sailed long.
The comeback began in the fourth set. SM took a 5-3 edge as Flynn served three points and Chandler Jerome had a kill. Mariella Sheppard served three points, and Wike and Anderson had kills making it 21-13. Wike served the last three points, and Anderson and Stewman had kills.
Pisgah scored the first six points of the match. The Lady Mustangs cut the gap to 10-8 as Wike served three points. They moved ahead 16-15 after Stewman served four points, including an ace, and Flynn had a kill. Pisgah scored the next four points to take the lead for good at 19-16.
The Sugar Bears went up 7-4 in the second set with a 4-0 run. Rice served four points, including an ace, and Stewman and Flynn had kills giving SM an 11-10 edge. Rice’s three points and Flynn’s kill broke a tie for a 23-20 SM lead. The set ended on Flynn’s block with Anderson serving.
SM led 5-3 in the third set as Flynn served three points, including an ace, and Jerome had a kill. After falling behind, the Lady Mustangs closed within 18-16 when Flynn served four points, including two aces. Pisgah scored the set’s final five points.
Flynn put down 12 kills, and Jerome had four blocks. Sheppard and Anderson both handed out 12 assists. Rice came up with 25 digs, followed by Anderson with 11 and Stewman with 10.
Rice, Wike, Stewman and Flynn all had 12 service points. Flynn was perfect in 19 serves, and Jerome got all three of her attempts in. Rice served 94.7 percent, followed by Sheppard at 92.3 and Stewman at 90.5. Team serving was 91.4 percent.
Pisgah’s JVs won 25-10, 25-21.
“In our first set we just got stuck on a string of really hard serves that we couldn’t pass up,” Coach Gabby Nelson said. “In the second set we worked really hard on our serve receive, and we got balls up. We fought really, really hard, but it just didn’t come out in our favor.”