REDWATER, Texas—Both teams wanted the first place trophy, and they fought hard for it.
In an epic match, Liberty-Eylau defeated Hughes Springs, 25-19, 23-25, 28-26 to earn the championship in the Redwater Spikers Classic volleyball tournament Saturday.
"Our motto this year is 'no excuses'," Lady Leopard head coach Latasha Harris said. "Every time they were down, they fought their way back, and I am looking forward to the season."
Meadows paced Liberty-Eylau with 11 service points, while Hughes Springs' Charlie Reeves
slapped in 11 winners.
Down 21-14 in the third set, the Leopards clawed their way back into the match when Amoiya Gentry served in five straight points to make it a 1-point set, 21-20.
The set was tied at 10-all, 24-all, and 26-all before Kelly Cigainero forced a Lady Mustang serve return error on the final point to end the match.
After three hit errors by L-E, an ace by Haylee Wilson, a Zoe Lanier kill, a Pearl Perry kill and a kill from Braylee Taylor, Hughes Springs was up 10-5 in the final set.
Liberty-Eylau jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the first set.
Taylor Crabtree took the serve and slapped in four in a row to give L-E a 14-6 lead. During the flurry, Henderson made a block and hit a tip for a winner.
Hughes Springs crept to within four at 16-12, but would never take the lead.
The Leopards' Aaliyah Thompson hit a short winner to the middle for the set point.
Liberty-Eylau took an early 9-6 lead in the second set. But Hughes Springs would score seven straight to take a 13-9 lead. Charlie Reeves served six in a row for the Mustangs.
The Leopards came back to within a point, 14-13, but Hughes Springs scored three in a row to make it 17-13.
Meadows served in four straight to give the Leopards a 20-19 lead.
After a Gentry kill for L-E, the match was knotted at 23-all.
But Wright made a kill, and the Leopards committed a hitting error as the Mustangs won the second set, 25-23.
Mount Vernon earned third place with a 25-15, 25-22 win over Redwater.
The Lady Tigers rattled off six points in a row to go up 17-12 in the first set. Mount Vernon went on a 7-0 streak to go up 24-14 later in the set. There were five ties in the first set.
The second set was more competitive with seven ties. The Tigers started off on a 4-0 run. But Redwater put up six straight points to go up 7-6.
The match was played on even keel until Mount Vernon went up 14-10; many of the points came off unforced errors.
The Tigers took a 17-12 lead, but the Lady Dragons scored four straight and eventually tied the set at 18-all.
Mount Vernon hit a 3-point streak and finished when a Redwater spike went out of bounds.
Bailey O'Bannon paced the Dragons with nine service points.
Liberty-Eylau, who had a first round bye, defeated Redwater, 12-25, 25-23, 26-24 in the semifinals.
Hughes Springs, who earned a first round bye, beat Queen City, 25-14, 25-14 in the other semifinal.
In earlier matches, the Dragons defeated Mount Vernon, 25-15, 25-18, and Queen City rolled past Atlanta, 26-24, 25-13.