And while the Lady Longhorns ended up the victory, it didn’t come without a major scare.
The Lady Longhorns nearly let eighth-ranked Creekview come back from seven match points — the Lady Grizzlies came within one point of tying the second set — but Kell managed to hold on for a 25-18, 25-23 win Tuesday, completing the sweep of an Area 7AAAAA tri-match.
The Lady Longhorns (7-12, 3-1) beat Forsyth Central 25-16, 25-20 earlier in the evening.
“That was something we’ve been working on, trying to finish our games,” said Kell assistant Lauren Hines, serving as interim coach for Tracy Densmore, who is in the late stages of her pregnancy. “Creekview beat us in the tournament on Saturday. Our goal (Tuesday) was to come back, because we knew (Creekview) was a tough team. Our defense put together our offense, and we’re proud of them.”
Kell (7-12, 3-1) looked unsettled in the early stages of the first set and found itself trailing 8-4. But once the Lady Longhorns got in sync and began running their offense, they fought back to take the lead and eventually took over momentum.
After winning the first set, Kell built a comfortable 24-17 lead in the second and needed to win just one point to clinch the match.
Creekview (14-10, 2-2) saved its first match point when Julia Dayoub dug up Ashley Jones’ attack, and the Lady Grizzlies on to win the point on an errant shot by Anna Fenstermaker.
Once Kayley Edgar took serve, Creekview grabbed momentum away.
An ace by Edgar cut Kell’s lead to five. After Emily Lehman and Courtney O’Connor successfully blocked another Kell attack, the Lady Longhorns followed with another hitting error, and Edgar came threw with another ace.
That made the score 24-22, with Kell’s chances evaporating. Creekview’s surge made the Lady Longhorns so timid on the next point that they were giving the Lady Grizzlies free balls instead of attacking, and Mary Nell Williams thanked them with a smash to make it 24-23.
Then Kell called a much-needed timeout.
“We just had to clear our heads and do what we know to do and finish it up,” Hines said. “I think they wanted it too bad and got a little frazzled.”
On the following point, Jones attacked the ball in a bid to finish the match, but the Lady Grizzlies stayed alive by swiping the ball out of their side of the net. Once the ball came back to Kell’s side of the court, Heather LaPrade set up a well-executed attack by Fenstermaker to end the threat and clinch the victory.
“That was definitely a good play,” LaPrade said. “I was very happy to have made that set.”
Jones led Kell with seven kills. Fenstermaker and Ansley Silva had four each, and LaPrade dished out 14 assists. Kell also served seven aces in the match, with Fenstermaker and Amalie Alvarez leading with two each.
In the first set, momentum went in Kell’s favor when Jones put together a long service run to tie it at 11-all, and another long run by Fenstermaker gave Kell a five-point lead.
Kell maintained its advantage and won it when Creekview made consecutive serve-receive errors.
The Lady Longhorns also took advantage of some early miscues by Creekview in the second set while making offensive plays of their own. They went on an early service run behind Fenstermaker to take a 10-3 lead.