It’s a cliche, but it holds true for Tuesday’s District 1-I volleyball showdown between the Airline Lady Vikings and the Ruston Lady Bearcats at Airline. It’s a shame someone had to lose.
In a tense, taut, exciting thriller that lasted over two hours, the defending champion Lady Bearcats edged the 2017 runners-up Lady Vikings 17-15 in the fifth set.
None of the other four sets were decided by more than four points. Ruston saved three set points in the first set, winning 28-26. Airline rallied to take the second 25-22. The Lady Bearcats came back to take the third 25-21. The Lady Vikings forced a fifth set with a 26-24 victory in the fourth.
While both teams made a few costly errors, it was a well-played game that featured many outstanding serves, kills, blocks and digs by the Lady Bearcats and Lady Vikings.
There were several suspense-filled, lengthy rallies late in the match that had the raucous crowd on its feet. During those, it appeared that one team or the other had the point won. But players on both sides made the plays to keep the point going.
Airline took an early 7-4 lead in the fifth set, but Ruston fought back after a timeout. The Lady Vikings also had leads of 12-9 and 13-11. The Lady Bearcats rallied for a 14-13 lead, but Airline saved the match point. The Lady Vikings had one match point at 15-14 but couldn’t convert.
Airline’s Gabby Patronis had three aces, nine kill and 21 digs. Tori Ligman also kept Airline in a lot of points with 29 digs along with two aces. Zahria Lloyd also had a good game with two aces, one block, 17 assists and 12 digs.
Courtney Clawson had five aces, one kill and one dig.
Airline (8-6, 1-1) continues district play at home against Captain Shreve on Thursday. Ruston improved to 7-2 and 2-0.
Elsewhere, the Haughton Lady Bucs split non-district road games Monday and Tuesday. Haughton defeated Evangel Christian 25-15, 21-25, 25-16, 25-18 Monday and lost to Natchitoches Central 19-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-19 Tuesday.
Arielle Emanuel seven aces, three kills, one block and two digs against Evangel. Catherine Hudson had three aces, five kills and two digs. Kaylee Swiger had three aces, one kill and one dig. Mia McWilliams had six aces, three kills, one block, five assists and three digs.
Reanna Crumpler had two aces, two kills and eight digs. Taralyn Sweeney had three kills and one assist. Taylor Williams had one ace, one kill, eight assists and two digs.
Haughton (3-5) visits Loyola on Thursday.
The Parkway Lady Panthers won two non-district home games, defeating Northwood 25-12, 25-4, 25-14 and Huntington 25-9, 25-12, 25-12.
Megan McCarty had six kills and seven aces against Huntington. Alyssa Colvard had nine aces. Jordan Glanville had four kills and two aces. Melanie Willis had five kills and one dig. Paris Washington had four kills.
Faith Ingles had one kill and four aces. Emily Crook had one kill, three aces and two digs. Jasmin Washington had one kill and three aces. Regan Digilormo had one dig. Kaylee McCleod had one dig. Madison Collins had one kill.
McCarty had 10 kills and two digs against Northwood. Paris Washington had one kill, 12 aces and one dig. Colvard had two aces and two digs. Glanville had three aces and one dig.
Jasmin Washington had two kills. Willis had one kill and one block. Digilormo had two kills. Kyra Kingfisher had two kills. McLeod had one ace. Collins and Ingles had one kill each.
Parkway (3-1) visits Natchitoches Central in a District 1-I game Thursday.
The Benton Lady Tigers fell to Loyola College Prep 25-22, 25-17, 25-19 in a non-district game at Loyola. Benton (3-4) visits Byrd in another non-district game Thursday.
NOTE: Game statistics provided by coaches.