Series of service runs propel Pearl River past Itawamba
Published 4:38 pm Sunday, September 26, 2021
POPLARVILLE, Miss — Despite losing its match on Wednesday, the Pearl River volleyball team rebounded by sweeping MACCC rival Itawamba 3-0 (26-24, 25-18, 25-18).
“A tough schedule this week paid off big time for us tonight.” head coach Haley Chatham said. “We played with discipline, we took care of the small stuff, we didn’t panic during ICC’s runs. Fighting it out all week in high-level matches helped us play with a calm confidence and that’s just what we needed to overcome a very good ICC.”
Pearl River (12-3 overall) started off on the front foot with a 5-0 run through some excellent serving by Julianah Overstreet (Vancleave).
Itawamba (11-6) scratched and clawed their way out of the early hole to equalize and even claim the lead in the middle portion of the set.
Pearl River quickly reclaimed the lead and from that point forward, every score was answered by Itawamba who eventually reclaimed the lead.
Pearl River found themselves trailing 21-24 but did not let that deter them as Diamond Jones (Gonzales, La.; East Ascension) stepped up to serve. She then sent the Wildcats on an incredible 5-0 run that saw her grab an ace and kill in the process.
Leah Draine (Mobile, Ala.; Mattie T. Blount) finished the set off with an exclamation point, earning a kill that made the score 26-24.
Set two played out very similar to set one as the two teams continued to trade blows early on. However, all of that changed when Amy Wright (Palm Bay, Fla.; Melbourne Central Catholic) stepped up as Pearl River held a slim 20-18 lead.
Wright started off her serve with back-to-back aces giving the Wildcats all the momentum and propelling them on a 5-0 run to kill off the set, 25-18.
The back-and-forth theme continued into set three. Pearl River claimed a crucial 7-6 lead followed by an Avery Beth Durdin (Olive Branch; Lewisburg) ace and Draine kill, making the score 9-6.
Wright sent the Wildcats on their biggest run of the night at 7-0 through another excellent service run, giving the Wildcats a 16-7 cushion.
From there Pearl River claimed all the momentum winning the set 25-18 and earning a 3-0 sweep.
Jones continued to impress on the night, pitching in with eight kills and two service aces.
Wright led the charge offensively for Pearl River through excellent serving including four aces while leading them on two huge service runs.
Leighton Willoughby (Brandon; Northwest Rankin) pitched in with two kills and some excellent work getting on top of hitters for blocks and catching the Indian defense off guard with a few tipped shots.
The Wildcats return home Monday to face Mississippi University for Women. The match will start at 6 p.m. in Shivers Gymnasium.