Lady Eagles Come Up Short in Title Tilt

Marion Walker Coleman sets up the return for Jaycie Johnson (15) while Megan Simpson (00) backs up the play. (Photo/Martha Ladd)

Marion Walker Coleman sets up the return for Jaycie Johnson (15) while Megan Simpson (00) backs up the play. (Photo/Martha Ladd)

WEST COLUMBIA (Oct. 26, 2015) – After going a perfect 22-0 in the regular season and through the first two rounds of the playoffs, the Richard Winn Academy volleyball team finally met their match in Anderson Christian Monday night.

The Lady Lions won the first two sets, dropped the third, but closed out their SCISA Class A State Championship victory over the Lady Eagles with a 25-15 decision in the fourth set.

“It doesn’t always fall the way we want it to fall. We don’t always serve our best game,” Richard Winn head coach Callie Sims said. “We had a great season. They learned how to play and learned how to battle. I’m very proud of them. They fought to the end. Even though it seemed like it was over, they still continued to battle.”

Anderson Christian (15-4), kept one point ahead of Richard Winn (22-1) for most of the first set, closing out a nearly 30-minute battle with a 25-23 decision.

The Lady Eagles fell behind again early in the second set, with the Lady Lions holding an 8-3 advantage at one point. Richard Winn rallied to tie the set at 12, then 13, then 14, before Anderson Christian got two service points from Hayleigh Von Ins and four service points from Katlyn Von Ins to build a 22-15 lead.

The Lady Lions finished that set 25-21 to make the third set the potentially deciding one.

Richard Winn scored the first point off Anderson Christian’s Eaden Shockley’s initial serve, then RWA’s Madison Wade came up with four service points to give the Lady Eagles a 5-0 lead. Eventually Anderson Christian closed to within 16-14, but Jaycie Johnson served up five points on a 9-2 run to give Richard Winn hope going into the fourth set.

“Our mental game is something that we’ve battled all season,” Sims said. “At that point (after the first two sets), we knew what was coming and knew that we had to step up and slow the ball down, play Richard Winn volleyball and control the tempo. We did a good job of doing that.”

The Lady Eagles started the fourth strong, with Wade serving the first three points. The Lady Lions then rebounded under Hayleigh Von Ins’ service, moving from a 5-3 deficit to a 7-5 advantage.

Richard Winn closed the gap to 16-14, but Anderson Christian finished the set and the match with a 9-1 run.

“We weren’t consistent in serving and didn’t have our best serving game,” Sims said. “We really pride ourselves in getting points off of hits, so if we can’t get our serves in, we can’t set it up and get hits.”

On the other side of the net, Anderson Christian practiced discipline in letting balls fall out of play and hitting the returns that needed to be hit.

“We really practiced a lot on defense. We’re more of a defensive team and we’ve worked really hard with our freshmen and sophomores to get to that point,” Anderson head coach Alison Guthrie said. “At the beginning of the season we had a goal to rebuild. We worked hard throughout the season and continued to grow. Each of these young ladies has worked beyond measure and given me everything I’ve asked for. They have the drive.”