MASON, W.Va. — It was a true roller coaster ride.
The Ohio Valley Christian School volleyball team overcame host Wahama in a 3-2 victory on Monday in Mason County. The Lady Falcons had the Lady Defenders on the ropes, but the visiting team fought back to achieve victory.
Wahama took control of the match in the middle of Game 1 with an 8-0 run from senior Emmalee Broyles. The Lady Defenders got back to within striking distance, but the Lady Falcons held on for a 25-22 win during the first set. Wahama got out to another early lead during Game 2 with another 8-0 run. The Blue and Gold fought back with a 6-0, but the deficit was too much to overcome as the Red and White took the second set 25-18.
Before the third set started, Wahama coach Matt VanMeter decided to sit the varsity team in favor of the J.V. squad for Game 3. Makala Sizemore’s six points put the Lady Defenders in the driver’s seat. The Lady Falcons J.V. team put up a fight throughout the game, but OVCS took the third set 25-20.
VanMeter sent the varsity team back on to the court for Game 4. Olivia Hill and Elizabeth Mullins combined seven points put the Lady Falcons out in front early, but the Blue and Gold were not ready to go home yet. Sizemore and Katie Westfall helped OVCS get back into the fight. The Lady Defenders took control of the fourth set and didn’t let go as OVCS took Game 4 with a 25-18 win.
Both teams traded the lead during Game 5. Broyles helped the Red and White to a 4-point advantage. OVCS fought back and capped off the comeback with a 16-14 win during the fifth set.
Sizemore led the Lady Defenders with 21 service points, followed by Westfall with 10 points. Cori Hutchison got seven service points, while Ann Bowman and Ashley Childers got six points apiece for Ohio Valley Christian.
“I’m proud of the ladies for never letting go,” OVCS coach Suzanne Johnson said. “We always fought through it. We fought to the very end and we won the mental battle. We’ve been losing it lately. We won the mental battle, in terms of, playing our game and coming out with the victory. I’m very pleased with them.”
Broyles led the Lady Falcons with 14 service points, followed by Hill with nine points and Mullins with eight points. Madison VanMeter finished with five points and Rebekah Roach had two points.
“We just weren’t moving like we have in the past,” Matt VanMater said afterwards. “OVC was playing hard ball and I think we took them a bit too lightly and they wanted it more than our girls did. As long as we can learn from it, we can move on from there.”
On the subject of Wahama switching to the JV team before Game 3, Johnson saw it as a risky strategy, while VanMeter saw it as a good opportunity for his younger players.
“Sometimes it can help you and give your team a rest,” Johnson said. “It also can turn around and bite you and not be the best thing to do. I think it proved it wasn’t the best thing to do.”
“For me, it’s all about getting the girls playing time to increase the program,” VanMeter said. “Yes, we want wins, but I need my younger girls to get playing time also. “
This was Ohio Valley Christian’s fifth straight match where it played five sets.
Donald Lambert can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106