PITTSBURG, Texas — Once a wrecking ball gets swinging, it is hard to stop it.
New Boston grasped the momentum at the pivotal moment in each set and swept past Big Sandy Harmony, 25-22, 25-23, 25-22 in a Class 3A area volleyball playoff match at Jack Arnwine Gym on Saturday.
"The speed of the game was a lot faster than what we've faced this year," Lady Lions' head coach Haylee Houston said. "We were very well prepared. Harmony has a great team and are hard to beat. They are disciplined and skilled. We come in as an underdog in most playoff situations; we are just here to play.
"We anticipated them to block us. We have some strong hitters. We practice with hard blocks coming off our side and having to be there to dig it. That is one of the things we really worked on for this match."
The first set featured 13 ties at 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21 and 22-all. The Lady Eagles hit a serve into the net to give New Boston a 23-22 lead.
Brittney Myers took the service line and caused a serve-receive error to make it 24-22. Lauren Hurst hit a tip that went for a winner to close out the first set for the Lions.
New Boston built a 10-3 lead in the second set behind Myers' serve. After Hurst put down a kill down the right baseline, Myers served in four straight. During the rally, Myers caused a serve-receive error, fired in an ace and Big Sandy Harmony had two hitting errors.
The Lady Eagles never led or tied up New Boston in the second set. After three Lion hitting errors and a kill, Big Sandy Harmony cut the gap to three at 19-16.
A booming kill by Carleigh Reeves gave New Boston a 23-19 lead. Five points later, Hurst boomed down a kill for the set clincher for the Lions.
Set three had just four ties at 3, 4, 6 and 7-all. After the set was knotted at 7, New Boston led the rest of the set as it built a six point lead at 17-11. The Eagles tried to chip back into the set but could not recover.
Hurst sent a fireball kill to the middle of the court to close out the match for the Lions.
Carlee Ratcliff had 21 digs and eight service points, Haley McAlexander had 29 assists and seven service points, and Reeves had nine kills and two blocks for New Boston. Hurst finished with 10 kills, Myers had seven digs and seven service points, Maggie Taylor made 12 digs, and Tamiya Smith put down six kills to go with a pair of blocks.