Volleyball action came to Manchester High School on Aug. 28 as the Lady Hounds played host to the visiting Lady Lions of Fairfield High School. It was a successful evening for the home squad as they kept their record unblemished at 2-0 in the 2014 season with a four-set victory over their guests, 25-20, 22-25, 25-18, and 25-23 in the deciding set.
The first set of the match began close but that changed quickly when Manchester’s Morgan Johnson stepped to the service line. With her team trailing 4-2, Johnson reeled off 11 consecutive service points, including an impressive eight aces to turn the momentum totally in favor of the Lady Hounds. To the credit of the Lady Lions, they survived that onslaught and put together a rally that saw them draw back to within 16-15.
Manchester’s Kylie Lucas then gave her team some breathing room by rattling off four straight service points to give her side a 21-15 advantage. Johnson later returned to service and finished out the match, getting a Summer Wilbur kill for the final point of a 25-20 win.
Three service points from Keisha Palmer gave Manchester a quick lead in the second set but the Lady Lions rallied behind the serves of Justice Hattan to even the slate at 8 apiece. Two aces by Wilbur gave the lead back to the Lady Hounds, but again Fairfield battled back to eventually take their first lead at 20-19 on a service ace by Tristen Collins. Manchester rallied to even the score at 22 but the Lady Lions got the final three points of the set on the serves of Shaylee Carson to take the second set 25-22.
In set number three, the Lady Lions took an early 12-10 lead, only to see the home team rally with Palmer nailing six service points in a row, a stretch that included two aces and kills from Johnson and Wilbur. The Lady Hounds never relinquished that advantage, holding off Fairfield the rest of the set. Three service points from Cassidy Spires stretched the lead to 23-14 and Wilbur closed out the 25-18 set win with a nice tip play, putting Manchester one set from taking the match.
The fourth set began just as the second set had with Palmer getting the first three points for the home side of the scoreboard. A Spires ace made it 7-3 Manchester and two service points from Hannah Grimes kept the Hounds on top 10-5.
The spunky Lady Lions were not going down without a fight and they battled back to pull within 14-11, but that just set the stage for another big Manchester service run. This time it was Lucas firing off five points, including two aces, giving the Lady Hounds a 20-11 advantage and it looked like they might run away and hide with the set and the match.
“Not so fast,” said the Lady Lions as the visitors still had a final run left in them and it came from the serves of Sarah Buddelmeyer who ran off six in succession to bring her team back to within 21-18. Moments later when Fairfield regained the side out, three points from the serves of Casey Carter suddenly put the set in a 22 all deadlock.
Still tied, now at 23, the Lady Hounds wrapped up the match with the next two points, the first coming on a Kayla Wagoner kill and the match-winner on an ace from Grimes. Manchester took the final set 25-23 and the match, three sets to one.
The winners were paced by an impressive stat line by Morgan Johnson, who finished th enight with 28 points, 14 kills, 10 aces, and 18 digs. Summer Wilbur also had a big match, contributing 7 kills and 7 points. Senior setter Keisha Palmer had 13 points and 22 assists while Kylie Lucas added 11 points, including 4 aces.
It is now “Rivalry Week” for the Lady Hounds as they will match up with two other county teams, beginning last night with a trip to Peebles. Tomorrow night it will be the first of two matches in the span of a week with the North Adams Lady Devils. The first of those will take place in Manchester, while on Sept. 9 the two will meet in North Adams. All of those matches will be Southern Hills Athletic Conference affairs.