Prep Volleyball: Lady Tigers fall to Benson in play-in game

Kingman Academy’s Aspen Jackson played her final volleyball game as a Lady Tiger in a 3-2 loss to Benson.

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Kingman Academy’s Aspen Jackson played her final volleyball game as a Lady Tiger in a 3-2 loss to Benson.

KINGMAN – The Kingman Academy High School volleyball team rallied back Thursday on the road against No. 13 ranked Benson, but just came up short in a 3-2 loss during a 2A State Tournament play-in game.

“Coach (Bill McCord) told us he was very proud of how we played,” said Lady Tigers senior Aspen Jackson. “And the fact that we even got to play in a play-in game was a good accomplishment. We played really well, but we just made little mistakes here and there and that’s what gave it away.”

In McCord’s first season as head coach, the 18th-ranked Lady Tigers improved dramatically – finishing 14-5, 7-3 in 2A West after a 9-15, 3-7 mark in 2016.

“Coming into this season and only losing five games, that’s crazy,” Jackson said. “Winning 14 games was a huge improvement from all my other years. It was super cool.”

The No. 18 ranked Academy almost had win No. 15 against the Lady Bobcats (12-6, 7-5 2A East), but saw it come down to a 15-13 loss in the deciding fifth set.

“We started off super strong in the last game,” Jackson said. “We were ahead, but then we got super tense and nervous. … By playing safe, we made the mistakes that we normally wouldn’t make.”

The Lady Tigers had to make the six-hour drive by bus and Jackson mentioned that played a small role in the sluggish start to the match. Benson took a 2-0 lead, but the Academy quickly responded with two wins to force a fifth set.

“We got together and told ourselves, ‘we’re known for the comeback game against tough teams, so let’s do what we’re known for,” Jackson said. “We came back and won the next two games by quite a bit, actually.”