For the next two games, the Lady Mustangs — taking to the court with somewhat of a makeshift lineup — played well enough to push the Lady Hurricanes aside when it counted to tie the match 2-2 winning by scores of 25-21 and 27-25.
In game five Walker Valley (18-16, 4-7 District 5-AAA) according to head coach Judy Pruett, played not to lose but did just, that dropping the final game of the night to the Lady Hurricanes, 15-7.
“In game five we played not to get beat, and we got beat,” said Pruett. “We had kind of a whole new lineup in games three, four and five. Abby Campbell did something to her toe today, we aren’t sure if it’s broken, but she was in a lot of pain. She said she didn’t want to hurt the team and didn’t feel like she was getting the ball to the setter. We went to a 5-1 which we haven’t played all season and I felt like the girls really worked hard. They hustled and got a lot of balls up.”
As they did in the first two games, Walker Valley took the lead to open game four, thanks to kills by Alex Crittenden and Rachel Lawhorn. Madison Pruett made it a 5-2 game before the Lady Hurricanes came back to tie at 7-7. Walker Valley won five of the next six points to take a 12-8 lead and held a 15-12 advantage after a Sara Wilson kill. East Hamilton fought back once again to tie it up at 17-17 before a six point run highlighted by Pruett aces gave the Lady Mustangs a 23-17 before closing out the 25-21 win.
Walker Valley took the opening lead for the fourth straight time in game four, but fell behind to the Lady Hurricanes 14-9 after a six point East Hamilton run. The Lady Mustangs bounced back off a Lawhorn kill and Alex Rominger aces to tie the game at 14-all. East Hamilton eased back out front 18-5, but a Wilson kill sparked a string of five points that put the Lady Mustangs on top 20-18. The teams tied the game six more times before the Lady Mustangs with Rominger at the service line took a 26-25 lead. A solid block by Crittenden gave Walker Valley the win.
East Hamilton took the early lead in the final game of the night. Walker Valley rallied back to tie it at 7-7 but the Lady Hurricanes took control and allowed only one more point before closing out the night with a 15-7 win.
“East Hamilton has a lot of good players, but they have the one great player. If you can stop her, most of the time you can play with them. If you can’t, then like in the last game ... she put several balls away,” said Pruett.
Pruett said the effort was there Tuesday night, but it will take a bigger and better one to get through the upcoming district tournament next week at Ooltewah.
“I think the girls played really well. In the district, it’s looking like we’re going to be sixth. It means we will be in the bottom pool which is not a bad pool to be in,” Pruett admitted. “But, no matter how it goes, everybody in our district is strong. No matter who we play, they are all going to be strong matches. It just depends on who comes out and plays.”
The good news for the Lady Mustangs is the return of Baylee Boen, who has been medically released to return to action.
“She didn’t play tonight because she hasn’t really practiced. She will practice and we will see how it goes Thursday with her. It’s Senior Night, so she will play some,” said Pruett.
Ashlyn Flock had 30 assists, 1 kill, 16 digs and 1 reception for the Lady Mustangs while Rominger served up four aces, had three kills, 22 digs and 18 receptions. Pruett racked up five aces aces, 11 kills, 16 digs and six receptions and teammate Lawhorn scored five blocks, 10 kills and eight digs. Gracie Pierce notched an assist, two kills, 11 digs and six receptions. Wilson logged three aces, seven kills and six digs while Katelin Scoggins ended with eight digs and seven receptions. Crittenden had three assists and eight kills, 1 dig. Campbell helped out with five assists and four digs and Mikayla Lumpkin scored two kills kills and had two digs and two receptions. Abbi Mason ended with two kills, two digs and three receptions.
The Walker Valley junior varsity opened the night with a pair of wins over the Lady Hurricanes by scores of 25-11 and 25-10.
Alexan Crittenden had four aces, 16 assists, six kills and six digs while Katelin Scoggins served an ace and had 12 digs and two receptions. Sara Wilson had kills, four digs and receptions and Mikayla Lumpkin had five killsa and four digs. Nikki Prugh ended with seven digs, Carly Frost booked six digs and a pair of receptions receptions and Abbi Mason scored two kills, two digs and receptions. Kate Essenburg added two kills, Julia McGuire tossed in a kill and a dig while Lindsay Staiman added a kill, a reception and booked one kill and Shiho Kazimi finished with one kill.