For a while it looked as though Episcopal might spoil University High’s senior night celebration when the volleyball powers met at U-High on Tuesday with the Division IV, District 2 title on the line.
The Knights rode six aces and a late 6-0 run to take the first set before the Cubs regrouped and took the second set 25-18 to set up a fiercely fought third set. U-High faced a game point at 25-24, but came back for a 28-26 win to set up a fourth set which it won 25-17 to clinch a 3-1 victory.
“Up and down. It seemed like both of us were trying to give points away,” U-High coach Bonita Johnson said. “We were finally able to string a few points together.
“We changed our defense and tried something new the first two games, and we were laying back on our heels and not getting in a ready position, so we went back to what we’d been doing.
“And it seemed like they were concentrating on Lindsay (Flory), and we did better when we started moving the ball around and getting to our middles more,” she said.
U-High improved to 24-8, 7-0 in district. Episcopal is 17-8 and 5-2, with both district losses to the Cubs.
“We didn’t play our game,” Episcopal coach Briget Melancon said. “We lost because of our errors, and we know that, and that’s what makes it frustrating. I don’t feel that we’ve had everybody on the court playing well at the same time. When that happens, it’s going to be exciting.”
Her team had their game together midway through the third set, wiping out a 15-8 U-High lead to tie the set at 17 and battling on even terms to the end.
U-High finished the set with five straight kills, two each by Flory and Marygrace Constantin and one by Carolyn Coulter.
“It’s a great win,” Flory said. “(The Knights are) definitely better than they have been. It’s a real rivalry, and you don’t want to lose to Episcopal at home in your senior year.
“I think in the beginning it (the senior ceremony) got to us and we were a little emotional, but by the end we played well. We came together.”
Florey joined juniors Terri Drake and Destiny Ephrom as scoring leaders for the Cubs. Eprhom had 11 kills, Flory nine and Drake eight. Flory (16) and Drake (14) were the assists leaders. Ephrom added two blocks and Drake had six digs to lead the defense.
Erika Grant had a strong game on both sides of the net for Episcopal, recording eight kills and 12 blocks. Charlotte Russell had 25 assists and eight digs, Courtney Gregoire had six kills and eight blocks, and Elizabeth Root led her team with 10 digs.
“I’m glad it hurts to lose,” Melancon said, “but I told them this is just a game for bragging rights. W
e have two weeks left in the regular season, and we haven’t peaked yet. If we meet them again in the playoffs, that’s the game that matters.”