What started out as a night that appeared as if it had the potential for a disappointment ended in a big come from behind victory for the South Webster Lady Jeeps over conference rival Minford in four sets, 23-25, 29-27, 25-18, 26-24. This match just so happened to also be senior night for the four Jeeps seniors: Hannah Spergin, Haley Mason, Taylor Rawlins, and Liz Rockwell.
In a very tight first set, things appeared as if they were going to go the Jeeps way as they led throughout the set and held a 21-17 lead in the late stages of the set which forced Minford head coach Rachel Stapleton to call a timeout. Stapleton’s timeout worked as the Lady Falcons were able to score eight of the last ten points in the first set to win 25-23.
The closeness of the first carried directly into the second set in what would ultimately be the closest set of the night. In the latter stages of the second, South Webster trailed 19-12 as it appeared that they would go down 2-0 and fall into a pretty big hole. However, the Lady Jeeps were able to score 17 of the final 25 points in the set to win by a final score of 29-27 in a very back and forth second set, particularly in the latter stages.
With the match tied at 1-1 heading into the pivotal third set, Jeeps head coach Darcee Claxon’s team played their best set of the night with the pressure on their backs. After trailing 13-10 in the middle part of the set, South Webster scored 15 of the next 20 points to take the pivotal third set victory by a score of 25-18
On the night, South Webster was led by senior libero Hannah Spergin who had a match high 33 digs in her team’s senior night victory. Claxon praised Spergin’s play following their win Thursday night, “Hannah’s all over the place. That’s the funny thing about her. She’ll pass the ball and the very next thing she’s at the net ready to play. She just anticipates so well, and she reads so well. She just gives 110% effort every play. She’s not the most vocal player in the world, but she doesn’t have to be because she leads by example. Nobody could ever question her work ethic. I think the kids, especially the younger ones, look up to her and get inspired by her play. And then the rest of the seniors. They served aggressively, they were hustling, we were getting some great kills from both of our middle hitters, and from our outside hitters. It was just a perfect storm for us tonight.”
Heading into the fourth set of the night with a 2-1 match lead, the Jeeps were knocking on the doorstep of a very impressive come from behind victory. Leading in the final stages by a score of 20-19, South Webster allowed Minford to score five of the next six points as they took a 24-21 set lead as Claxon used another timeout to try and rally her team. Whatever she said to her team must have been the trigger as the Lady Jeeps came out firing following the timeout to score the final five points of the set to ensure their comeback attempt and win the set 26-24, and the match 3-1 to close out a great senior night performance.
“We finally played how we’ve wanted them to play all season long” said Claxon following her team’s senior night victory on Thursday, “With some consistency, with some fire, with some passion. All of them were giving those things tonight. Sometimes we’ll have one or two, it was good to have all of them be able to do that tonight.”
Minford will open up their postseason play with a sectional matchup against Portsmouth on Tuesday October 16th at 6:00 p.m. on the Falcons home court.
As for the Lady Jeeps, they will host the Piketon Redstreaks on Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m. in their opening round sectional matchup.
For Claxon, the key for her team moving forward into next week’s postseason play is to continue their intensity and continuing to do the things they’ve been working on.
“We’re just going to continue to do what we do” said Claxon, “We’re going to continue to work hard in practice, we’re going to continue to work on developing our shots, consistency as players. On service, we’re going to continue to work the ball around and hopefully we’re going to see the girls play like they did again tonight.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT