TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — The champs were trapped in the ropes, but the Lady Wildcats somehow worked their way out of the corner.
Visiting Waterford overcame a 2-0 match deficit and remained unbeaten in league play Monday night following a 22-25, 20-25, 25-6, 25-17, 17-15 victory over the Eastern volleyball team in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup in Meigs County.
The host Lady Eagles (7-6, 5-4 TVC Hocking) never trailed in Game 1 and overcame a six-point deficit in Game 2 en route to an inspired 2-0 match advantage, but the Lady Wildcats (10-4, 9-0) responded by taking leads of 7-1 and 15-5 in Game 3 before rolling to a 19-point win.
With momentum clearly swinging, WHS — despite four ties and five lead changes — never trailed in Game 4 and ultimately tied the match at two with an eight-point win.
In the pivotal fifth game, there were eight ties and nine lead changes overall — which included tie scores at 8-, 10-, 11-, 12-, 13-, 14- and 15-all.
Waterford — which trailed 1-0 and led by as many as four points (8-4) in the finale — came up with the final two points to complete its rally and secure the five-game triumph.
The Lady Wildcats also claimed a season sweep of EHS after posting a 25-21, 25-10, 25-21 win at WHS back on September 1.
Afterwards, EHS coach Katie Williams acknowledged that she was disappointed to see a two-game lead disappear, but she also noted that it had a lot more to do with the team on the other side of the net instead of her own troops.
“We knew that this was going to be a battle,” Williams said. “We had a game plan and we executed it early on, but Waterford has a good team. They have experienced veterans and they found a way to get it done.
“At the same time, I’m very proud of our girls because they gave it everything that they had and they never gave up. There is no shame in giving your best effort, regardless of the outcome.”
Morgan Baer led the EHS service attack with 20 points, followed by Abby Litchfield and Morgain Little with seven points apiece. Litchfield also had a team-best three aces.
Allison Barber was next with five points and Katlyn Barber chipped in two points. Makenzie Brooks and Kelsey Casto also had a service point each in the setback.
Katlyn Barber led the Eastern net attack with 19 kills, followed by Brooks with 12 kills and Allison Barber with four kills.
Baer led the hosts with three blocks and 42 assists, while Elayna Bissell came up with a team-best 20 digs.
Allie Kern paced Waterford with 21 service points, followed by Killian McCutcheon with 13 points and Hayley Duff with 10 points.
Megan Ball was next with eight points, while Haley Klintworth and Denise Young each contributed six points to the winning cause.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.