Heading into district play, Longview got a lesson in bouncing back. Kilgore got the same lesson as well.
After Longview went ahead 2-0 on Tuesday at Lobo Coliseum, Kilgore roared right back into the match with back-to-back wins before the Lady Lobos capped a marathon, sloppy-at-times match win (25-17, 26-24, 18-25, 11-25, 25-12).
The Lady Lobos (11-16) now head into District 11-6A on Friday on the road against North Mesquite. The Lady Bulldogs have one final tuneup on Friday before jumping in to District 16-4A action on Tuesday.
“Good win tonight, by far from the prettiest but we’ll take it heading into Friday,” Longview head coach Chaka Jackson said. “We needed to get this win.”
Things went sideways after a 2-0 lead for the Lady Lobos, who enter the 11-6A race in a decent spot, Jackson said.
“Heath and Rockwall are very strong but I feel like, after those two, we’re all even,” Jackson said. “It’s going to be about who can show up and play — who wants it the most. I feel like we have a fair shot.”
It was an all over the map performance both ways on Tuesday between the two teams, who combined for 92 unforced errors in the lengthy match.
In the opening set, Longview, with junior Miah Colbert at the line, pulled away with a 7-0 run on the way to a 25-17 win. It wouldn’t be pretty or easy for the Lady Lobos the rest of the night.
The second set featured 10 ties, the final coming at 24-all before a kill from Colbert and a Kilgore error put the Lady Lobos up, 2-0, with the 26-24 win.
Then the Lady Bulldogs got going.
A strong start from Kilgore’s Dayton McElyea as well as the one-two punch of Jada Abercrombie and Miah Thomas, who were steady throughout, kept it a back-and-forth set to hold off the sweep. Skyler Day had a pair of aces while McEylea had a block and a kill in a 7-1 run to put Kilgore ahead, 19-14.
Abercrombie had two kills down the stretch and with the assist of Lady Lobo miscues, Kilgore forced a fourth set with a 25-18 win.
Day returned to the line in the fourth set and walked away with Kilgore ahead, 11-0. The senior had two aces in the run and Thomas, a junior, hammered home three kills and a block.
Up 15-8, Kilgore senior Lauren Couch had back-to-back-to-back aces and errors from Longview the rest of the way forced a decisive fifth game with a 25-11 Lady Bulldog win.
Colbert, one of nine underclassmen on the Longview roster, had two aces and senior Ladeja George had a block and a kill as Longview jumped to a 4-1 lead in the fifth.
Six of the next 10 points came via errors both ways and Longview, after three-straight miscues from Kilgore, jumped to a 13-6 lead.
Kilgore didn’t go quietly from there. Thomas and Abercrombie had rally-extending saves and Couch addded two more aces to make it 13-12 Longview.
Colbert had a kill off a feed from Sarah Frederick and Angell Evans finished off the match with an ace.
“I’m proud of them for coming back in game five because the fourth game was hideous,” Jackson said. “We had to turn around and find a way. That’s been the motto all year — find a way.”
For Kilgore, Abercrombie finished with nine aces, one ahead of Thomas. McElyea had nine assists to go with five kills. Sophomore Ashton Vallery led the way with 12 assists and Couch had five aces.
Colbert finished with six kills and four aces for the Lady Lobos. Laci Lewis had six kills and George six blocks. Evans led the way with 10 digs ahead of Jailyn Rusk with eight and Elaija Hatley with seven.