In a grueling, tightly-contested high school volleyball match Tuesday night in Hiett Gymnasium, Houston fell to visiting Summersville, 3-2.
In their first home match of the season, the Lady Tigers took the first set in the tightly-contested best-of-five contest, 26-24. The visiting Lady Wildcats then prevailed in the second set, 25-16, and went ahead in the match with a 25-22 victory in the third set.
Houston tied things up with a 25-21 win in the fourth set, but Summersville built a 10-2 lead in the fifth set and coasted to a 15-10 win.
The Lady Wildcats opened the match by racing out to a 5-0 lead in the first set, and extended their advantage to 11-4 after a couple of errors by the Lady Tigers. But Houston climbed back into contention and tied the score at 22-all on a block by sophomore Olivia Crites.
Summersville hung tough and forced the set into overtime, but the Lady Tigers got the 2-point spread they needed to win on a block by junior Hannah Dzurick.
Houston earned a 5-2 lead early in the second set with a run including a block by senior Prairie Nunnery. But the Lady Wildcats outscored their hosts 24-11 from there to even the match at a set apiece.
The third set was a back-and-forth affair from beginning to end, but Summersville was able to close the deal and secure a 3-point win on a kill by junior Addyson Shockley.
The two squads traded blows early in the fourth set before Houston built an 18-13 lead on a point by junior outside hitter Mackenzie Holder. The Lady Wildcats responded and pulled to within a point at 22-21, but the Lady Tigers scored the next three points and took the set when junior middle hitter Sarah Purcell used a soft touch to find an open spot on the floor on Summersville’s side of the net.
But after the close battle leading to a 2-2 tie in the match, the fifth set got away from Houston in a hurry.
When senior Kaylyn Simpson and sophomore KyEshia Bush converted back-to-back kills, the Lady Wildcats had a commanding 8-1 lead. Summersville maintained the margin and held a 14-7 advantage after a block by sophomore Kailey Bradley.
The Lady Tigers stayed alive by scoring three straight points, but an error gave Summersville the final point of the match.
“It was tough to lose a 5-set match,” said HHS head coach Loran Richardson. “We fought so hard to get to that point and then it just slipped away from us. That was our first 5-set match, so I was interested to see how it went. Overall, we improved as the game went on and had some great comebacks.”
Kills were plentiful on both sides of the net throughout the match. Dzurick finished with 13 kills to lead Houston, while Holder had 12 and Purcell had 9.
The Lady Tigers struggled to keep the ball off the floor at times and recorded only a 1.69 passing percentage in the match.
“That just doesn't get it done,” Richardson said. “Too many balls dropped from a lack of communication; we've got to get better in that area.”
Dzurick and Purcell each had 3 blocks for Houston, while senior Kellsi Gayer, junior Mali Brookshire and sophomore Aliyah Walker notched 2 aces apeice. Brookshire also recorded 31 digs, while Dzurick and Holder had 23 each and Walker was credited with 15 assists.
Richardson used 12 players in the lengthy contest.
“At times, we only had one varsity returner on the court and our inexperience showed,” she said. “I'm proud of the fact that they didn't give up; we're going to be tough by the end of the season if we keep pushing.”
Next up for the Lady Tigers is a week of road matches. Houston (1-2) travels Tuesday to Plato and Thursday to Conway before heading to Buffalo on Saturday to be in the field at the annual Lady Bison Invitational.
JV Lady Tigers win
The Houston High School junior varsity volleyball team beat Summersville on Tuesday of last week in Hiett Gymnasium.
The JV Lady Tigers won in straight sets 25-12, 25-13. They had 18 kills, 10 aces and 1 block in the win.