MERCERVILLE, Ohio — The opening two games had maybe more drama than what the Lady Rebels would have preferred.
The second two games…eh, not as much.
Regardless, with wins hard to come by this season for the South Gallia High School volleyball squad, the Lady Rebels will take a victory over anybody and in any way.
Such was the case for Wednesday night’s Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division makeup matchup, as the host Lady Rebels rallied for a 23-25, 28-26, 25-9 and 25-17 triumph over the Belpre Golden Eagles.
With the win, the Rebels raised their record to 3-15 and 3-10 in the TVC Hocking, as South Gallia also gained the season sweep.
The Red and Gold swept the Golden Eagles in straight games in their initial meeting a month ago.
South Gallia’s only other division victory remains a four-game win over Wahama, as Belpre fell to 1-17 with Wednesday’s loss — and remains winless in the league at 0-13.
The outcome also snapped South Gallia’s four-match losing streak, which came against conference foes Southern, Waterford, Federal Hocking and Trimble — and all in straight games.
It was also the first varsity win for acting head coach Amanda Gilbert, who is the Rebels’ reserve mentor but is filling in for second-year head coach Sarah Shirley, who is currently away from the program and attending to a family emergency.
In fact, the match against Belpre was originally scheduled for last Thursday, but was postponed.
The Rebels’ recent struggles continued in the opening game against the Golden Eagles, as South Gallia got behind after five ties and four lead changes — and trailed by as much as 19-10 after leading 6-5.
Although the Rebels rallied to get within 24-23, including three consecutive Kara McCormick aces, Abbey LaFatch’s clinching kill for the Golden Eagles earned them an early 1-0 advantage.
After a back-and-fourth second set which featured two lead changes prior to the third tie at 19-19, Belpre boasted a 24-21 advantage — and had match point.
But that’s when the Rebels got rolling, and allowed only 28 points the remainder of the way.
Erin Evans earned a kill and an ace for the 24-24 tie, sandwiched around a Golden Eagle attack error.
South Gallia got its fourth straight point on an Aaliyah Howell kill, but Belpre scored the next two points —including an ace by libero Kaitlin Richards to take a 26-25 lead.
But the Rebels responded for the final three points and the 28-26 game win —thanks to an Eagle attack error, Rachal Colburn’s seventh kill of the set, and finally an ace by Keirsten Howell.
Colburn and fellow middle hitter Christine Griffith continued their onslaught at the net in the third game, as Colburn picked up four more kills towards her match-high and massive 19.
Griffith added nine kills and three blocks, as Aaliyah Howell had seven kills along with five apiece from Evans and Amaya Howell.
But it was the serving attack with sparked South Gallia in the final two games, as it amounted 11 of its 17 total aces in sets three and four.
Trailing 3-1 in game three, the Rebels recorded a sideout before an Evans ace tied at 3-3, as she served for eight consecutive points and a 10-3 SGHS cushion.
Another sideout gave the hosts the serve again at 11-4, as Griffith — with four aces out of five serves including three in a row, garnered another eight straight service points.
Two more service points by McCormick, including her other ace, made it 22-5 for the Rebels’ largest lead of the night in any one game.
In the fourth game, Colburn chalked up five more kills with Griffith gaining four, as Griffith, Evans, Hannah Shafer and Olivia Hornsby had an apiece.
Griffith finished with six aces as Evans added three.
Hornsby’s ace made it 12-6 in favor of the Rebels, but Belpre battled back to within 15-14 on three kills by Sydney Spencer and another ace by Richards.
However, the Rebels won 10 of the final 13 points, punctuated by Keirsten Howell’s other kill which clinched the match.
Spencer paced the Golden Eagles with 11 kills and six aces, including five aces in the opening game and five kills in the closer.
The Rebels returned home, and returned to TVC Hocking Division action, on Thursday night against Eastern.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106
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