Walker Valley battled back from a 25-15 loss in game one of a District 5-AAA volleyball battle with Cleveland to take game two 25-11.
The Lady Raiders rallied back to win game three 25-16. But, the night belonged to the Lady Mustangs, who fought for a 27-25 win in game four and ran away with a 15-6 win in the deciding game five.
Cleveland coach Patricia Flowers was pleased with the play of the Lady Raiders, particularly in games one and three, but took exception to some calls made during the course of the contest.
“We played awesome. The refs lost that game for us tonight. There’s no doubt in my mind, the two or three bad calls [her team]. There’s nothing you can do when it’s at a crucial moment. I’m upset about that,” said the Cleveland coach. “Those girls wanted that. They played their hearts out. They had to beat Walker Valley and the refs tonight and there’s nothing we could do about it. Other than that, we played awesome.”
Cleveland had little trouble in the opening match controlling the game after breaking an 8-8 tie to get the win.
The Lady Mustangs came right back in the second matchup and led from start to finish, grabbing an easy 25-11 victory.
“We played as a team. We let down in one of the games and I think the reason we let down is I think we stepped back out on the court thinking we were going to play the same team we played in game one. I don’t think they took them for granted — we should have prepared them for that,” said Flowers.
A 25-16 win in the third game set up a battle to the finish in game four. The Lady Mustangs broke a 17-17 tie and regained the lead to go up 23-22. The teams knotted the score at 23-23, 24-24 and 25-25 before Walker Valley rallied for the final two points to put it away.
“The girls came together when they had to. In the fourth game I had all the confidence in them. I wasn’t real sure how it was going to end, but they played hard to finish. In the last game, that was the way we should be playing,” said Pruett. “I’m hoping we are going to come out of whatever we have been in. We are more than halfway through the season.”
In the finale, Walker Valley broke a 3-3 tie and galloped to the finish line to easily put the match away.
“The last game is the way we should have been playing the entire match,” said Pruett. “Cleveland has a good team. We have not seen Cleveland all season. We have only seen them play two weeks ago at the Choo-Choo for just one, brief game. I knew they would play their very best game. I think they played close to their very best. They played well. I’m thankful for a win. It was a little closer than I wanted, but I’ll take a win any day.
The Lady Mustangs host East Ridge and Girls Preparatory School Thursday before taking part in their final tournament of the season in the Tennessee Tandem.
Flowers shouldered some of the blame for the Lady Raiders’ loss in the closer.
“I made a mistake in the last game, I should have had Marrisa (Langford) out there,” she said. “But, I trusted my team and they let me down. They’ve got to be able to stand in the gaps when our big hitters are not out there. It really helped us a lot having Qetuwrah (Abdullah-Muhammad) back tonight. You cannot buy height.
“We are going to get them when it counts. We are a growing team. We are young. Our time is going to be at the end of the season when it counts the most, when it matters. But, I wish they had won that game, they deserved it.”