The Fairfield Lady Lions volleyball team hosted Southern Hills Athletic Conference rivals the Eastern Lady Warriors on Tuesday in a sectional semi-final match and won in straight sets 25-18, 25-15 and 25-22.
Eastern entered the match as the 13 seed in the tournament with a regular season record of 8-14 (5-9) and were overwhelmed by the fourth seeded Lady Lions early in the first set.
The Lady Lions took a commanding 15-4 lead in the first set before Lady Warriors’ Head Coach Kayla Crites called for a timeout in an attempt to slow the momentum of Fairfield.
However, the Lady Lions were too much as they cruised to the win to take the first set that was capped by an entertaining rally from both teams that ended on a kill by Layla Hattan.
Fairfield started slowly in the second set as they allowed the Lady Warriors to hang around early in the set and only led 8-6 when Ally Davis stepped behind the line and took control of the Lady Lions service game.
Davis led Fairfield to four consecutive rally points and helped the Lady Lions separate themselves from the Lady Warriors with a 12-7 lead.
After helping to break the serve of the Lady Warriors, Taylor Lawson was next to serve for Fairfield and led the Lady Lions to sex consecutive rally points for a 19-7 lead.
Eastern refused to go down without a fight and tried to climb back into the set behind the service strength of Hailey Hampton who led the Lady Warriors to four consecutive rally points to get to 22-13.
Fairfield refused to let up however, and was able to secure the second set a short time later when Kami Magee assisted Davis on the final kill to break the Eastern serve and take a two to none lead in the match.
As it turned out the Lady Warriors were saving their best for last as they jumped out to a 12-6 lead before the Lady Lions began to find their groove.
Lawson, Magee and Hattan all took their turn behind the line as the Lady Lions rallied in the third to tie the match at 16.
Fairfield senior Lauren Arnold was able to give the Lady Lions the lead and create separation as she led them to four straight rally points, including two aces, to put Fairfield ahead 20-17 following the service break.
The Lady Warriors battled back and eventually tied it at 22 before Fairfield finally closed the door with Davis behind the service line and a wicked kill by Hattan off of an assist by Magee to end the set and give the Lady Lions the straight sets victory.
Lady Lions Head Coach Lesley Hattan talked about the third set afterwards, “Eastern got up on us but I told them in the begining I said ‘well they are just finding holes.’ It wasn’t that they were playing bad or doing anything wrong you know, it’s just the ball was falling in places that we weren’t. We battled back and pushed through and were able to finish.”
Fairfield advances to the Division III sectional finals on Saturday when they will host the Lady Green Devils of North Adams.
The Lady Devils advanced courtesy of a straight sets win over SHAC rival and Highland County’s own Lynchburg-Clay Lady Mustangs.
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.