COLUMBUS, Miss. – The Owls volleyball team split the first day of the Belhaven/Millsaps Invitational, dropping its first match against Huntingdon College, 3-0, but taking their last game of the day against LaGrange in five sets. The W moves to 2-2 on the season.
Game One: Huntingdon (L, 3-0)
The Owls played hard against Huntingdon, coming back from drastic point deficits to come within one or tie the Hawks throughout the competition. Despite the effort, The W got bogged down by unforced errors and was unable to keep the momentum going to fall in three sets (25-17, 25-20, 25-17).
The Owls began the match struggling with errors and fighting an impressive offense in Huntingdon to find themselves down 11-2.
The W refocused and Tori Weir stepped up to deliver one kill and a pair of service aces to cut the Hawks lead to 11-5. An attack error briefly switched the serve back to Huntingdon but the Owls continued to battle to close the game to within two.
The two teams ended the set trading points until a sprinkle of errors by The W allowed Huntingdon to take the set, 25-17.
Huntingdon struggled in the opening serves and error after error put the Hawks behind the Owls 8-2.
After a timeout, the Hawks regrouped and capitalized on some W missteps to tie it up.
The two opponents alternated scoring runs to give Huntingdon a one-point advantage at 19-18.
Some Hawk well-placed attacks littered the court with kills to allow them to pull ahead and maintain the lead for a 25-20 set victory.
The W hung close to the Hawks throughout the set but Huntingdon put away the ball better to remain ahead of the Owls.
Three scoring streaks which were mostly comprised of kills allowed Huntingdon to close out the set and the match, 25-17.
Game Two: LaGrange (W, 3-2)
LaGrange is probably the most equally matched team the Owls have faced so far this season and the Panthers really made The W work for their win. The Owls stuck with the game plan to defeat LaGrange 3-2 (25-19, 25-13, 13-25, 18-25, 15-10)
The Panthers jumped ahead early in the first set with a 6-0 lead.
Mary Grace Prine took over serving duties when The W was down 13-2 and the tide began to shift in the Owls favor.
The W effectively landed attacks and minimized errors to go on an 11-point streak to take its first lead of the match 23-18.
The Owls ended the set strong with back-to-back kills from Tori Weir to take set one 25-19.
Riding off the success of set one, the Owls grabbed an 18-8 lead over the Panthers for their largest lead of the day.
LaGrange scrambled against their own errors to try to stay in the game but was unable to get it together before the close of the set. The Owls advance to 2-0 in the match, taking the set 25-13.
In the third set, the wears of the day began to take its toll on the Owls mental and physical game. The Owls grabbled with simple errors to open set and fell behind 14-0.
Shelby Jones ended the Panthers scoring streak with a kill to put the Owls on the board but still left too much ground for The W to cover.
Despite a late effort, the Owls were unable to take control of the set and lost its first set of the match, 25-13.
The drastic shift of momentum in the third set still weighed heavy on the Owls entering the fourth. The W fell behind immediately after the first serve.
The Owls continued to push through to stay in the game but the Panthers remained in the driver's seat to take the set, 25-18.
The W saw its first fifth set of the season and after two low performing sets, found new energy.
They hung with LaGrange for most of the set, consistently tying the game or staying within one.
With the final set sitting at a score of 10-9 in the Owls favor, the Owls pulled ahead after two kills by Iyana Canada and a Panther error for a score of 13-9.
A LaGrange kill briefly stalled the Owls scoring streak but the Owls stayed on top to finish, 15-10.
The Owls will be back in action on day two of the Belhaven/Millsaps Invitational. The W will take on Philander Smith College at 1 p.m. before taking on host Belhaven University at three.
The W will play both day two matches in Heidelberg Gymnasium located on the campus of Belhaven University.