The Lynchburg-Clay Lady Mustangs hosted the Hillsboro Lady Indians for a non-conference volleyball tilt Wednesday that saw the ladies from Lynchburg take the 3-1 match win and lay claim to cross-county bragging rights.
Lynchburg-Clay made quick work of Hillsboro in the first set winning by the final score of 25-14. The highlight of the set came when play was paused and Lady Mustang libero Ashley Ernst was honored for recording her 1,000th career dig.
The milestone was the second of its kind for Lynchburg-Clay in as many matches as Abby Pitzer recorded her 1,000th career assist in the Lady Mustangs previous Southern Hills Athletic Conference win Tuesday over West Union.
Lynchburg-Clay coach Mackenzie Stevens praised Pitzer and Ernst for the milestones and said, “They both played a really great game both nights. So I am incredibly proud of them.”
In the second set the Lady Indians fell behind 16-7 and were forced to call an early timeout to regroup. Following the stoppage in play Hillsboro battled back against the Lady Mustangs and got to within one point at 21-20. However, Lynchburg-Clay was able to pull out the 25-21 win and take a 2-0 lead in the match.
The Lady Mustangs fell behind early in the third set as the Hillsboro ladies were able to build a 7-4 lead in the set. But, Lynchburg-Clay used four straight points to take back the lead at 8-7. Hillsboro and Lynchburg-Clay battled back and forth for the remainder of the set without either team able to create a two-point edge after being tied at 22. The Lady Indians were finally able to secure the win when Gracie Dean came up with a big block to make it 29-28 and Hillsboro was able to hold serve on the following possession.
The fourth set was close early as neither the Lady Mustangs nor the Lady Indians were able to create separation and the score was tied 9-9 when Pitzer stepped behind the line and recorded three aces and a kill in nine service attempts to give Lynchburg-Clay an 18-9 lead and force Hillsboro to call timeout.
Following the timeout the Lady Indians recorded three consecutive points, including an ace by Dean, but Lynchburg quickly responded with three consecutive points of its own to take a 21-12 lead and force a second Hillsboro timeout. The Lady Mustangs were able to finish off the match with a kill from Ernst that brought the set to an end at 25-12.
“We have a bad habit of when we get down a couple of points we tend to get down in the dumps a little bit,” said Stevens. “For us, being able to pull ourselves out of that hole was fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for better play. Even though we lost the third set we still fought and we were able to come back in the fourth set, which is a huge step up from last year. I’m extremely proud of that.”
The Lynchburg-Clay Lady Mustangs will be back in action on Friday when they host the Eastern Lady Warriors in a SHAC volleyball showdown.
Ryan Applegate is a stringer for The Times-Gazette.