No. 18 Pearl River serves its way to 16th straight win on sophomore night
Published 4:35 pm Thursday, October 28, 2021
POPLARVILLE, Miss. — No. 18 Pearl River volleyball closed out its spectacular regular season on Wednesday with an impressive showing against Louisiana College, winning 3-1 (20-25, 25-13, 25-13, 25-16).
The Wildcats celebrated sophomore night by extending their winning streak to 16 straight matches.
“It was a great sophomore night match,” head coach Haley Chatham said. “We are so thankful for such an awesome crowd, that’s always fun for the girls; they get to put on a show.”
Louisiana College (4-10 overall) opened things up by scoring early and often, building an early 4-1 lead.
Back-to-back kills by Leah Draine (Mobile, Ala; Mattie T. Blount) and Leighton Willoughby (Brandon; Northwest Rankin) made the score 4-3, but LC built its lead back shortly after to make the score 6-3.
From there, the two teams traded blows with Pearl River (27-3) scratching and clawing its way back to within four at 13-8.
Despite a flurry of kills from Diamond Jones (Gonzales, La.; East Ascension), LC was able to hold off the late Pearl River surge to take the set 25-20.
Louisiana College opened the scoring again in this set; however, Pearl River responded quickly and went on a run through the serving of Juliannah Overstreet (Vancleave) that included a Jones kill to take a 4-1 lead.
Despite a response from LC, Pearl River went on a huge run with Allison Carpenter (Ocean Springs) serving. The run included kills from Payton McKerchie (Vancleave), Draine, and Jones as well as three service aces in a row from Carpenter, opening the score up to 13-2.
From there, Pearl River capitalized on the momentum and ran away with the set 25-13.
Set three opened up again with Louisiana College scoring first.
After a Pearl River response, the two teams went back and forth to make the score 8-8.
Pearl River grabbed the lead 9-8 and went on another small run that included a Draine kill and Carpenter ace setting the score at 13-8.
After a Louisiana College response, Pearl River again claimed momentum building the lead up to 17-11.
Amy Wright (Palm Bay, Fla; Melbourne Central Catholic) stepped back to serve with the score set at 18-12 and sent the Wildcats on another nice run that included two service aces and a Willoughby kill, giving them a 24-12 lead.
Pearl River went on to win the set 25-13.
Pearl River opened the scoring this time through back-to-back kills from Jones.
From there, an intense back-and-forth scoring barrage ensued as neither team was giving an inch, making the score 6-6.
Pearl River then captured the lead and momentum, building a comfortable 15-10 lead through a run that included another Jones kill.
The Wildcats didn’t look back, continuing to capitalize on the momentum eventually taking the set 25-16 and the match 3-1.
Jones continued her impressive season, adding 11 kills to her season total to give her 354 on the year. She also added three service aces on the night.
McKerchie pitched in with five kills and gave the wildcats momentum in key moments, putting her over 60 on the season.
Draine added seven kills for the Wildcats putting her over the 200 mark for the season.
Willoughby continued to be a force in the middle for the Wildcats, pitching in with a few thundering kills and big-time blocks.
Carpenter led the way for the Wildcats in her quest to claim the “service ace race” adding five to her season total and giving her 53 on the year.
Wright added to her total as well, chipping in with four and giving her 31 for the season.
Avery Beth Durdin (Olive Branch; Lewisburg) and Overstreet added an ace each and did a great job setting the Wildcat hitters up in great position for kills.
The Wildcats return to action Saturday at home for the Region 23 championship against Itawamba. The match is set to get underway at 4 p.m. and will be livestreamed at PRCCMedia.com/gold.
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