Rivalries can be a lot like the teams involved in them, often going through cycles.
Though University High rallied to claim a 3-2 victory over Episcopal in Division IV, District 2 action Thursday, the magic is definitely back in one of the Baton Rouge area’s traditional volleyball rivalries.
Moments after she sealed the win with a kill that gave the Cubs (17-7, 2-0) a 15-12 win in the fifth set, Destiny Ephrom summed it up well.
“After the fourth set I knew we couldn’t get down,” Ephrom said. “We had to keep up the hard work and it paid off. They (Episcopal) are a real good team and they’re one of the best for us to play.”
UHS has held the upper hard the last couple of years but battled for a 25-20, 17-25, 25-16, 22-25, 15-12 win in the contest played at Episcopal.
Lindsay Flory led the Cubs with 10 kills, 10 assists and 10 digs, while Terri Drake added 17 assists, 8 kills and 8 digs. Ephrom had 8 kills and 4 blocks. Episcopal (13-6, 2-1) got 12 kills and 12 blocks from Erika Gilbert, along with 10 kills 6 blocks and 5 aces from Ali Mitchell.
Kaitlyn Walker (13 blocks, 10 digs, 7 kills) and Charlotte Russell (25 assists, 14 digs) were other Episcopal leaders.
“Sometimes you have to lose to get to where you need to be,” Episcopal coach Briget Melancon said. “Did we make mistakes? Yes, but I can’t fault the effort. I thought we played hard and several of the girls were crying afterwards. We’re still working to find some of the right combinations and it will come.”
All the sets were close. The teams traded points in the opening set until UHS built a three-point lead at 16-13. The Knights got no closer than two after that and the Cubs scored the final four points.
The scenario was similar in the second set with Episcopal grabbing a definitive 16-11 edge by scoring four straight. Two aces by Mitchell helped the Knights close it out. It was much the same in third set, only this time UHS won.
U-High raced out to an 8-2 lead in the fourth set. The Cubs continued to hold the upper hand until committing a hitting error that tied it 21-21. The Cubs also committed some mental errors by not going after shots that hit the line, earning Episcopal points and eventually a 25-22 win.
“There were some shots that we questioned whether or not they we in. They were on the line and that helped give them (Episcopal) a run of points,” UHS coach Bonita Johnson said. “I just told my players they needed to go out and play relaxed in the last set.”
Episcopal led 9-7 in the final set. After UHS grabbed the lead, another ace by Mitchell and a kill by Grant tied it at 11-11. After a service error by the Knights, the Cubs made the final three plays.
First, Ephrom teamed with Carolyn Coulter on a block. Kills by Flory and Ephrom closed out the win.