TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — In moving forward, the Lady Eagles played well from behind on Thursday night.
That’s because Eastern, trailing by identical counts of 6-1 in both the opening and closing games, rallied back for wins in both — en route to a 25-20, 17-25, 25-18 and 25-21 Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division volleyball victory over the visiting Trimble Tomcats.
The Lady Eagles also bounced back in nice fashion from a difficult five-set defeat at Miller on Tuesday — something that had not happened since the 1990s.
With Thursday’s triumph, Eastern remained within striking distance of TVC Hocking leader Waterford, as the Eagles improved to 8-5 overall — and to 6-2 to complete the opening half of league play.
The Lady Tomcats, conversely, slipped to 5-7 — and an even 4-4 in the division.
Trimble took game two against Eastern 25-17, but never led against the Eagles in the third set, as Eastern eventually opened up an advantage as large as 22-12 — thanks to five consecutive points, four of which were from Jenna Chadwell behind the service line.
But game four was the clincher for the Eagles, which got behind —for the second time in the match —by an early score of 6-1 before battling back.
In fact, Eastern erased that deficit by scoring seven of the next nine points for an 8-8 tie — the first of seven total deadlocks in what proved to be the final game.
An ace by Trimble’s Baylee Hardy tied the fourth set at 16-16, but the Eagles erupted for nine of the final 14 points, including the 25-21 sealer on a push-kill by Morgan Baer.
But Baer’s biggest responsibility on Thursday was as the squad’s setter, for she amassed 30 assists, as Ally Barber boasted a match-high 16 kills.
Morgain Little landed seven kills, as Jenna Chadwell chipped in five and Mackenzie Brooks another four.
Little served up four aces.
The Eagles’ libero, Elayna Bissell, accounted for 24 digs — as Barber collected 17 and Sydney Sanders dug up 15.
Barber also added five solo blocks, as Brooks and Baer both had four while Little and Sidney Cook chipped in with two apiece.
For the Lady Tomcats, Kym Williams and Laura York tallied 11 kills each, as Macinsey Cooper chalked up eight.
Taya Lackey racked up a match-high 27 assists, as Skylar Moore led in service points with a dozen.
The Tomcats raced out to a 5-0 advantage to begin the match, thanks to four consecutive Eagle errors and a kill by Williams.
But the Eagles awoke after falling behind by as much as 8-2, winning nine of the next 12 points for the first of four ties in the set at 11-11.
After ties at 12-12 and 13-13, the Eagles finally caught Trimble at 19-19 — on a pair of back-to-back aces by Little.
In all, after trailing 19-15 in the opening game, Eastern ran off 10 of the final 11 points — with Trimble’s tally coming on an attack error.
Eastern returns to TVC Hocking action on Tuesday night — when it travels to face Federal Hocking for that return bout.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106