ELWOOD–After a hard fought first set of the Madison County title match, the Pendleton Heights volleyball team seemed to have grabbed momentum in an effort to even things up with Alexandria and force a decisive third set.
But after a Tiger time out and three straight big plays by the best player in the county, the Arabian edge was gone as were their chances to win the championship.
Senior Megan Miller had three consecutive kills to cap a 7-0 Tiger run to overcome a 13-8 deficit as Class 2A #6 Alexandria defeated Pendleton Heights 25-23, 25-21 to win the county title.
Alexandria won a back and forth first set in which neither team had a lead of more than four. But Pendleton Heights (12-9) came out fast in the third set and seemed in control at 13-8 prompting the time out.
Miller, who finished the match with 20 kills, finished the day with 60 total kills in three matches. Despite Miller’s play, Arabian coach Blair Barksdale felt her Arabians had their chances to win.
“It was a little disappointing, there were too many unforced errors,” she said. “We had three service errors in the first set, and we lost by two. And, with a 13-8 lead, you just can’t come out of a time out and give up a six point run.”
Barksdale was not surprised at the timely play of Miller, who is headed to the University of Nebraska next year.
“Every time, she got them out of any bind they were in,” Barksdale said. “That’s the kind of player she is.”
The Arabians advanced to the final with a 25-7, 25-13 win over Elwood in the quarterfinals and a 25-18, 25-14 win over Lapel in the semifinal round. Sophomores Gracie King and Averi Lanman had nine kills each in the final, giving King 28 in the three matches and Lanman, who also had five blocks on the day, 24 kills. Sophomore setter Aubree Dwiggins led the Arabians with 61 assists and five aces. Sophomore Ally Hall also had five aces on the day.
Lapel (14-5) advanced to the semifinal with a 25-20, 25-19 win over a feisty Liberty Christian team. Senior Taylor Murdock led the Bulldogs with eight kills and three aces in the two matches while sophomore Delany Peoples added seven kills. Junior Isabel Anderson had 24 assists and junior Macie Schmitt added three aces.