Prep Volleyball: Lady Tigers hold off late Wickenburg rally for 3-1 win
KINGMAN – The Kingman Academy High School volleyball team was on the verge of tallying a sweep Thursday night, but Wickenburg had other plans. The Lady Wranglers forced a fourth set before the Lady Tigers pounced for a 3-1 victory (25-12, 25-20, 29-31, 25-18).
“It’s good to get the win,” said Academy head coach Bill McCord. “Wickenburg fought back. You don’t let up on a team like that.”
The Lady Tigers (7-1, 2-0 3A West Region) were firmly in the driver seat with a 17-8 advantage during the third set. Academy needed to finish strong to tally the sweep, but a Wickenburg timeout gave it a spark to inch closer.
Before the Lady Tigers knew it, their lead was down to only one point at 23-22. That was just the beginning of the battle as each squad traded points down the stretch. And as the score inched higher, so did the crowd noise in Betty Rowe Gymnasium.
“It was pretty good how it was going back and forth," McCord said. "One would go up and then the other. It was exciting.”
Unfortunately, the thrilling third set didn’t go in favor of the Academy as the Lady Wranglers narrowly won it, 31-29.
“We kind of just let them go for a run,” said sophomore Lynsey Day. “We tend to do that a lot when we think we’re done and we’re not. We calm down and let them go for a run.”
The Lady Tigers nearly saw that run carry over into the fourth set, but they found a way to pull away. Academy quickly scored five straight points to take a 20-13 advantage that forced a Wickenburg timeout. The Lady Wranglers (2-5, 0-1 3A West Region) still kept it interesting as they did all night long, but it wasn’t enough to force a winner-take-all fifth set.
“Wickenburg didn’t give up on anything,” McCord said. “I was pretty impressed. They were scrappy. I’m surprised their record is what it is. They hit the ball pretty well, but their defense is pretty dang good. So I’m happy we won.”
Grace Herbine led the charge for the Lady Tigers with 16 kills and four blocks, followed by Isabella Anderson with 15 kills and three blocks.
Maliah Gardner notched a team-high 29 assists and five blocks, while Day added 14 assists.
Academy travels to the Colorado River Invitational Saturday and then hosts Kingman High at 6 p.m. Tuesday.