Episcopal High School fought through a lull midway through its volleyball match against Newman before rallying for a 3-2 win at Episcopal.
The Knights won the first two games by scores of 25-22 and 25-23. Newman fought back taking games 3 and 4, 25-20 and 25-19. In the deciding game, Episcopal (5-0) came back from a six-point deficit and took the match with a 16-14 win.
Episcopal coach Briget Melancon was as pleased with the Knights’ determination as she was with the outcome.
“I told the team toward the end, at this point in the season it doesn’t matter how this ends,” Melancon said. “I just wanted them to compete, and that’s what they did.”
Newman (3-5), which is coming off a 2013 season in which it won the Class IV state title, has played a tough opening schedule as it tries to blend in new talent with experienced players.
“I think we’re young and we’re still finding our personality right now,” Newman coach Colleen Loerzel said. “We’re still working on gelling and figuring things out. It’s atypical of how we’re playing right now.”
Newman was led by Kathrine Bolyard’s 11 kills and 17 digs. The Greenies also got 17 assists from Julia Nelson and four blocks from Angele McClain.
Episcopal was topped by Kaitlyn Walker, who registered 24 blocks including 14 solos. Erika Grant had eight kills and six blocks, Courtney Gregoire added five kills and eight blocks, and Charlotte Russell had 17 assists and seven digs.
Newman moved out to an 8-2 lead in the fifth game on the strength of two kills each from Cameryn Jones and Jamie Hawkins. Episcopal pulled even at 10-10 as three different Knights recorded kills including Walker, who also had two aces in the run.
Russell was called for being in the net, and Walker’s hitting error helped Newman edge back in front at 13-11, but Episcopal scored five of the match’s last six points.
Three consecutive Newman hitting errors put Episcopal on top 15-14. The Knight’s closed out the match when the Greenies were called for a held ball while trying to return a serve from Gregoire.
Melancon said an important part of her team’s comeback was staying positive on the court.
“We focus a lot on body language,” Melancon said. “Once you make a few errors, its hard for a volleyball team to change that. I told them to fake it even if they weren’t feeling it. Even on the little points, and then slowly it will grow.”
Already down a game, Newman began fighting back in the second after the teams were tied 17-17. Newman scored five straight points, but Episcopal turned things around.
Down 22-17, the Knights finished the game scoring eight of its last nine points. The 25-23 win gave Episcopal momentum that carried over, at least for a while, into the third game.
With the score tied 12-12, Newman began to take control building a small lead that grew to 20-16.
The teams traded service errors and setting mistakes before Bolyard’s kill gave Newman a 225-20 win.
The Greenies evened the match in game four with a 25-19 win. They raced out to a 19-9 lead and then withstood a late Episcopal rally. Newman scored the final point when Episcopal’s Alyssa Winkler was called for being in the net.
“We’re proud of the fight,” Loerzel said. “We knew it was going to be a tough game, and both teams fought and battled. It was good volleyball.”