The old saying “it’s a shame someone had to lose” certainly fits Thursday’s Airline-Haughton volleyball match.
The Lady Vikings won an epic five-set thriller at Haughton, taking the fifth 19-17 after each team saved match points.
Haughton won the first two sets 25-22 and 25-21. Airline won the third and fourth 25-16 and 25-20.
In high school volleyball, the final set is a tiebreaker. The first to score 15 wins, but only if that team is ahead by two.
Airline took the early advantage and led 8-5. But Haughton reeled off five straight points to take a 10-8 lead. It was a tight, tense struggle the rest of the way.
The Lady Vikings scored four straight to go up 12-10. The Lady Bucs answered with two in a row to tie it.
After that it was tied at 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17. Haughton had two match points, but the Lady Bucs had service errors both times. Airline also had a service error on its first match point, but the Lady Vikings finally won it on their second one.
Airline improved to 4-0 in District 1, Division I and 8-5 overall. Haughton dropped to 2-2 in district play and 6-2 overall.
It was Airline’s second five-set victory in district play. The Lady Vikings went the distance against Byrd on Sept. 13.
Airline and Captains Shreve are tied for the district lead. The Lady Vikings host the Lady Gators Tuesday. Defending champion Ruston is second at 3-1. Byrd and Haughton, which visits Ruston on Tuesday, are tied at 2-2.
Kate Blancaflor had two aces, one kill, 10 assists and 13 digs for Airline. Ashley Haigler had four aces, 13 assists and seven digs. Kaylea Noble had three aces, four kills, seven blocks and two digs.
Those three were the statistical leaders, but the rest of the Lady Vikings also played a big part in the victory.
Haughton’s Savannah O’Neal, Bre Hudson, Laurel Emanuel, Arielle Emanuel, Jordan Digilormo, Mikala Delgado, Sidney Arnold and Lacey Dodson all did their part to help the Lady Bucs almost pull out the victory.
— Russell Hedges, email@example.com