When the Lafayette High School volleyball squad faced a bit of an uphill climb on Tuesday afternoon at home, a little bit of patience calmed things down.
Lafayette held a 2-1 lead (in games) over Sulphur when the Tors raced out to a 7-1 advantage in the fourth game. Lafayette coach Cathy Poole decided not to pull the trigger on a timeout.
“I just kind of let them work their way out of it,” Poole said. “We just stepped up with one play and went from there. Sometimes you want to give them that opportunity to do it themselves. We have six seniors, so I felt we could overcome it.”
Setter Madison Poen secured a point for the Lions with a kill to make it 7-2. The Lions eventually pulled back to a 9-all tie on the way to winning the fourth game (25-22) and the match 25-22, 23-25, 25-16, 25-22. The win improves Lafayette’s record to 10-14 and 6-6 in Division I, District 1 play.
After an even first two sets when neither team could build an advantage, the Lions gradually took control in the third game thanks to a four-point run on Corie Connelly’s serve that put Lafayette up 11-4.
“Corie did a great job on the front row and with her serves,” Poole said.
The Lions kept that momentum going in the third game by doubling the Tors at 14-7 after Sulphur was called for contacting the net. As Sulphur tried to come back, Sydney Seaford was momentarily injured when she dove for a dig attempt. She turned out to be OK and was able to continue, but the Tors could not recover in that set.
“I think our intensity and defense started to stand out later in the match,” Poole said. “Our libero (Nicole Granger) was all over the floor. Offense wins games, but defense wins championships.”
The Lions closed the third game on a kill by Mo Alleyne, who also had six blocks in the match. That helped set the stage for the final set comeback, which included Lafayette rattling off 8 of 10 points at one stretch to grab a 24-16 lead. However, the Tors did not back down from that challenge. Jayleen Lantier used her serve to help the Tors take six straight points until Alleyne finished the match with another set-ending kill. Alleyne had nine kills. Granger had 35 digs. Poen had 11 kills and a pair of aces.
The Lions gained solid footing in the third and fourth game in situations when they forced the Tors to scramble on offense.
“If (the Tors) got a good pass and a good set, there was a hit that we couldn’t recover from,” Poen said. “When we got some free balls (on our side of the net), we were able to run our offense more quickly.”
Poole agreed that the back row and Poen teamed up to get the Lions’ offensive going.
“Our back row made good passes and her (Poen’s) quick sets helped,” Poole said.