The Lady Longhorns kicked off the week in a tough away game battle against the Providence Academy Knights in Johnson City. Playing the best three out of five games, Johnson County managed to seize the initiative by pulling out the first win of the night, 25-15. In that game, strong serves, which resulted in several aces, helped put Johnson County ahead 4-0 very early on, and with that narrow lead provided the momentum to carry the game through to its end.
A strong defense by players like Brionna Reece and Haley Miller helped to keep the Knights at bay, especially toward the end of the game when the Lady Longhorns were able to put in their last five points while keeping Providence at 15. Providence was far from beaten, and in the second game managed to turn the tables against Johnson County. With a mirror effect to the first game, the Knights managed to pull ahead 0-4 against the Lady Longhorns. However, unlike the first game, Johnson County was able to battle back, coming from a steady four-point deficit to eventually tie up the game at 17.
The last moments of the game came down to a battle at the net, with several near saves in a string of long volleys. Yet, as Coach Eric Crabtree pointed out, these edge-of-your-seat moments make the match a much more entertaining event. We were just two really good teams going at it, said Crabtree. Its just fun to watch. Those long volleys are fun to be a part of. It gets exciting when you want to see them get the point. With both teams fighting hard for the win it was no surprise that a couple of the games extended well past the normal 25 point cut off.
With both teams tied at 24, Providence got one last opportunity to make their first win of the evening, playing to 26 to get the necessary two-point lead to claim victory. Despite playing well, Johnson County was unable to answer Providences second volley and the game ultimately went to the Knights 24-26.
With both teams having a win to their credit, fans knew they were in for a lengthy match. A renewed determination late in the third game spurred some strong performances by the Longhorns, most notably some good saves by Ashley Weaver. I love playing the back row, Weaver said. I feel really at home there. Were a very close team this year, and we just had to get in the groove. The first and second games were kind of sloppy but in the last one we battled back and pulled out on top. I think our energy was down a little bit in those early games. We werent playing as hard as we could have, but in the fourth game we really brought it and that really makes a difference.
Getting a second win in a match can have a big affect on a teams chances at carrying the match and neither team was willing to give up in the third game. In fact, the game was such a close battle that the deficit between the two teams was rarely more than two points. By the end of the game, the score was tied at 25. Providence was the first to pull ahead at 26, but could not gain the two-point lead to end the game. Tied back up at 26, it was Johnson Countys turn to take the lead, getting the point to land at 27. With the ball in play, fans knew that Providence would have to get the point for the game to continue, but thanks to a little luck, the last point of the game went to the Lady Longhorns, giving them a second win at 28-26.
Getting a boost in confidence from the victory, the Lady Longhorns went into the fourth game determined to end the match. Although both teams remained fairly even for the first half, it wasnt long before Johnson County was pulling ahead, first tying at 8 and then jumping forward to 14. The Knights managed one more point to give them 9, but were blown away by a string of successful spikes and serves that left Johnson County at 18. Despite fighting to the last point, Johnson County had simply put too much distance behind them for Providence to catch up, and the final score came down to 25-14, giving the Lady Longhorns their third and final win of the evening.
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