Kennesaw Mountain (5-6) won the first set 25-18, but Allatoona came back to win the second set 25-22. The Lady Mustangs then won the third and deciding set 15-9 to clinch the best-of-three match.
The win gave Kennesaw Mountain a 2-2 record on the day. The Lady Mustangs started things off with a two-set sweep of Collins Hill (25-20, 25-15) and then lost in straight sets to Lakeside-DeKalb (25-16, 27-25) and Etowah (25-10, 25-18) before closing it out with their win over the Lady Buccaneers.
“We’re very happy,” Kennesaw Mountain coach Tonya Kern-Honea said. “We started (the day) with a win and we closed with a win. A lot of good things happened throughout the day. We’ve got a lot of things to work on. The kids gained a lot of confidence. We played some good teams that challenged us. Nothing was easy. We want to continue to improve and work on the things that will make us better.”
Jocelyn Mahayag had 17 kills, 23 digs and four aces for Kennesaw Mountain, while the Lady Mustangs were also led by Lindsey Nation (24 kills, one block, eight digs), Megan Dreyer (13 digs, six aces), Ellen Courter (42 assists), Tyler Cooper (11 kills, four blocks), Bri Nation (eight kills, 3½ blocks), Haley Vonck (six kills).
Allatoona’s loss to Kennesaw Mountain was its third in four matches on the day. The Lady Buccaneers (3-6) also lost to Northview and Etowah, with Collins Hill being their only win.
Nevertheless, Allatoona coach Amie Howard was encouraged by the progress her team, a Class AAA state quarterfinalist last year, made with each match.
“When we started out (Saturday), we wanted to get better each time we played, and I think we did that,” Howard said. “We have a long way to go, and we’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’ll be a really good team by the end of the season.”
It was Allatoona which had the upper hand early in the first set, taking advantage of some Kennesaw Mountain miscues to build a 6-3 lead.
The Lady Buccaneers were up 7-5 when Kennesaw Mountain scored three straight points, with Vonck’s kill and a couple of service winners by Nation putting the Lady Mustangs in front 8-7.
The Lady Buccaneers tied it up at 8-all, but Kennesaw Mountain scored four unanswered points to take a 12-8 lead. The Lady Mustangs maintained their advantage through the rest of the set.
Kennesaw Mountain held a slight lead through the early part of the second set and was up 7-6 when Allatoona scored six unanswered points and kept the lead the rest of the set to even the match at one all.
With the score tied 2-all in the third set, Kennesaw Mountain went on a 5-1 run — propelled by a kill and a block from Nation — to take a 7-3 lead, and the Lady Mustangs stayed in front the rest of the way.
“I think Allatoona is a good team,” Kern-Honea said. “They challenged us with their hitting game, and when you play against good hitters, you have to stay calm, and we did that. We played hard. The good teams will push you, and we stayed within our game.”