Louise McGehee High School was down two sets Thursday in its District 6-IV match with rival Newman.
However, the Hawks won the next three on their way to a 23-25, 16-25, 25-8, 25-19, 15-8 win over the visiting Greenies.
“We worked hard all year, so our goal was to persevere,” McGehee coach Val Whitfield-Dunn said. “We basically stuck with the quote that adversity breaks some and others break records. We were just trying to stick with some of our quotes that we had along the way that uplifted us and carried us through.”
Taylor Ducros led the Hawks (28-2, 3-0) with 15 kills and 17 digs while Tylar Beckham had 14 kills. Te’Ja Williams had 18 digs and Maddie Tillery had 30 assists.
For Newman (20-8, 3-1), Jamie Hawkins had a team-high 13 kills, Julia Nelson amassed 25 assists and Asshton Politz had 14 digs.
Whitfield-Dunn said her team had to overcome some early ball-control issues to win.
“Newman’s an excellent team,” she said. “They served the ball well and we had some trouble controlling the ball in the first two games. Then we had a couple of hitting errors that cost us a couple of points.”
Whitfield-Dunn said the momentum turned when her team did a better job serving and also got more digs.
The first two sets featured multiple ties and with the first one tied at 22-22, the Greenies ended with a three-point rally.
Newman took its largest lead in the second game at 19-13 and won following a Katherine Bolyard’s serve at the 24-16 mark.
Following both teams trading leads in the third, the Hawks went on a 7-0 run to take a 16-6 lead.
“We came together as a team and we played hard,” Ducros said. “That was the way to come back and win. After we lost the two matches coach Val (Whitfield-Dunn) was just telling us that we worked too hard in the summer. This is not the way the game was supposed to be going. We just pushed really, really hard and we were able to win.”
Newman expected a tough match and with the 16-team roster having only five seniors, coach Colleen Loerzel said the experience will be helpful.
“McGehee’s a district rival. We always know that it’s going to be a good match,” Loerzel said. “We knew they were going to be ready to fight, push and get after it. That’s how the girls came out ready to play.”
“McGehee stepped up, played tough and stayed aggressive. It was a great experience for our kids, because we’ve got a lot of young kids right now. It was a great experience for them to be able to be in that situation. They’re just going to keep getting better.”