Coach Andrea Hudson is hoping for the same type of turn around again this year, after the Mobile-based club came battling back from a 2-1 deficit to stun the fifth-ranked Lady Flames 3-2 (25-23, 17-25, 18-25, 25-22, 17-15) on Saturday afternoon in Walker Arena.
Lee seemed to be well on its way to a third consecutive SSAC win, up 17-12 in the fourth set when the Badgers went on a run and the Lady Flames could not stop the surge. Spring Hill improves to 11-3 overall and 2-0 in conference play. Lee drops to 9-6, 2-1.
The Lady Flames lost more than a match when 6-foot-2 outside hitter Marija Zelenovic went down with a right ankle injury midway of the first set. She did not return and could miss several matches.
Paced by outstanding back-line play and several key blocks at the net, the Badgers refused to fold, even after Lee came fighting back from a 14-11 margin in the final set to almost pull out the win. Spring Hills Meredith Donald finished with 28 digs, while teammate Sami Maurer joined in with 20 and teammate Taylor Lahasky added 14. All together, the Badgers totaled 90 digs.
Lee was just as solid in turning away 95 of the Spring Hill attack attempts. Libby Peigen had 29 digs, Camil Martinez 19, Irene Ojukwu 12 and Sarah Davis 11. However, the Badgers held a commanding margin in the blocking department. Spring Hill rejected 12 kills by the Lady Flames, while Lee had only six against the determined Badgers.
Spring Hill standout Megan Haber had six blocks to go along with her team-leading18 kills. Sami Hantak blocked five and added eight kills. Sha Sha Buchanan pitched in with 12 slams and Taryn Nash recorded 42 assists for the winners.
Ojukwu had a match-high 26 kills to pace Lee. Paula Martins tallied 16 kills, three aces and six digs. Lauren Williams added eight kills and Patty Orozco totaled seven slams. Overall the Lee attack numbers were down, as a team they hit only .171 percentage, nowhere close to the numbers it had recorded in recent wins.
The Lady Flames will be seeking to bounce back next Tuesday when Truett-McConnell comes to Walker Arena for a SSAC match scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.
Lady Flames 3, Mobile 0
Paced by the booming net play of Irene Ojukwu, Lee's volleyball scrambled to defeat Mobile 25-22 in the opening set, and then burned the visiting Mobile Rams 25-12, 25-14 in SSAC action in Walker Arena on Friday afternoon.
Ojukwu finished the 3-0 win with 14 kills and a sparkling .440 hitting percentage. However the talented outside hitter did not stop there. She picked up a pair of aces, added eight digs and a block as the Lady Flames improved to 9-5 overall and 2-0 in the SSAC race.
While Ojukwu was the only Lee player to tally double-figure kills, Marija Zelenovic came away with nine kills, three digs and two blocks. Lauren Williams had five kills, but also had four blocks and two digs. Camil Martinez set her teammates up with 31 assists. Libby Peigen paced the Lady Flames with 11 digs and Sarah Davis added eight.
For the losing Rams, Kiara was best with nine kills and eight digs. Reagin Boggs was solid with 17 assists and a team-leading 11 digs. Mobile had only seven blocks in the loss and could muster just 23 kills, while the Lady Flames totaled 36.