Lady Tigers claw back to beat River Valley

Kingman Academy’s Aspen Jackson executes a kill-shot during the Lady Tigers win Thursday. Jackson led KAHS with 14 kills.

Kingman Academy’s Aspen Jackson executes a kill-shot during the Lady Tigers win Thursday. Jackson led KAHS with 14 kills.

KINGMAN - The Kingman Academy volleyball team just may have grown up in front of the eyes of their fans.

The Lady Tigers took down River Valley (0-6) in tremendous come-from-behind fashion Thursday at KAHS 25-23, 17-25, 22-25, 25-21, 15-9. Academy (1-2) has no seniors, six juniors, two sophomores and four freshmen on its roster. Three of those freshmen are starters: Aspen Jackson, Breanna Weber and Shaunti Short.

"This was exhilarating," Weber said. "It's nothing I ever imagined as a freshman playing on varsity."

The Lady Tigers took control at the end of the first set when Weber and Alexis McDade teamed for a monster block-kill that tied it up, 20-20. River Valley had trouble handling the ball after that, committing four errors down the stretch. Weber included a service ace.

After the Dust Devils took the next two sets and needed only one more for the win, the Academy again let River Valley sink itself. The Dust Devils made five errors after pulling within one at 20-19 in the fourth.

The start of the fifth and deciding set didn't look as if the Lady Tigers would get their first win of the season. The Academy fell behind 4-1, and coach Bryant Morrison called a timeout to compose his team.

The Lady Tigers battled back to narrow River Valley's lead to 8-7 and then scored the next four points. The Dust Devils made it 11-9 on an Academy error, but the Lady Tigers took advantage of three River Valley errors, and Jackson ended the match in fitting style with her 14th kill of the match.

"Whether we won this match or not, I thought the girls played well," Morrison said. "The best thing about it is the girls feel they can win."

The Academy still has some tough teams on its schedule, including at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Yuma Catholic (3-3). But the Lady Tigers are going with a newfound confidence.

"This definitely proves what we can do," said junior captain Reagan Haynes. "It's a huge stepping stone and should be a boost for us."