The Abilene Cowgirls volleyball team had to dig deep into their fundamentals and rally to defeat the Clay Center Tigers in two matches Thursday.
In the first set of the first match it was a back and fourth battle that the Cowgirls had to rally twice to pull out a, 28-26 win.
“I knew that was what it was going to be, they are a really good team. They will have a good chance of making it to the state tournament in Division II,” coach Mike Jantz said. “They have a nice team. They have really nice front row play, they blocked the ball very well.”
Jessica Hayes and Hailey Devine had five and four kills respectively. Senior setter Courtney Geist was moving all over the court to provide 12 assists to the outside hitters.
Hayes also provided two aces.
In the second set, the Cowgirls won, 25-19, with Devine, Hayes and Taylor Thompson each providing five kills off of Geists 16 assists, Claudia Hayes and Ashley Collette each added a kill to help the Cowgirls win the first match over the Tigers.
The Tigers came roaring back in the second match and forced the Cowgirls to find their resolve to win in the first set, 25-22. Many lead changes took place again in this set.
“We had had to really dig deep in the second match to even have a chance, they have a nice team and they are well coached,” Jantz said.
Devine had a big game with eight kills and ace. Hayes continued to pound the ball for four more kills and Geist converted on 14 assists. Thompson,
Hess, Geist and Collette each added a kill for the Cowgirls.
The Tigers took control of the second set, 25-22, and forced the Cowgirls into 15 errors in hitting and serving. Geist provided nine assists to the outside hitters Devine and Hayes for three kills each while Thompson and Geist had two each.
The Cowgirls collected themselves and focused in the final set, 25-19, to take both North Central Kansas League matches.
Hayes led the hitters with six kills and Thompson knocked in three. Divine would power three aces and Geist provided 10 assists in the final set.
“I am pleased with the kids, really pleased with the girls to get the first match in two sets and after dropping the first set in the second match, we did not play well in the second match, error city,” Jantz said. “At one point, we were behind, 10-15, in the second set and we had given up 10 serving and hitting errors, so we struggled with things that we are usually good at, especially hitting. It wasn’t just one player, it was all of us and that was because their blockers were really effective.”
“But we found a way, and sometimes in volleyball, that’s what you have to do is gut it out and keep challenging them each time,” Jantz said. “It was close there in the second set and we found a way to finally close it out and then in third set I was really pleased and we served well and I think that was the difference in the third set.”
The Cowgirls improved their record to 25-8 and their KVA ranking in Class 4A moved to ninth this week.
The Cowgirls next host the Abilene Invitational Tournament Saturday at the AHS gym beginning at 9 A.M.