Erick Starkey/News Mount Vernon’s Cora Lepley dives from her position in the back row to save a ball from dropping in the third set of action Thursday against Lexington.
Erick Starkey/News Mount Vernon's Emma Summerfield
Erick Starkey/News Mount Vernon's Jordan Reeder
Erick Starkey/News Mount Vernon's Kylie Ransom
Erick Starkey/News Mount Vernon's Lanie Short
MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets volleyball team held at least a four-point lead in all three sets Thursday in a home match against Lexington, but lost the lead and each set, falling in three.
“Closing has been our biggest thing this season and being able to just put the ball down when we need to and finding someone to put the ball down,” coach Courtney Rabold said. “When we lose, it’s only by 2-3 points, and if we just would be more consistent, we would have had it.”
Mount Vernon fell behind 3-0 in the first set, but stormed back to take a 9-5 lead, forcing a Lexington timeout. The timeout worked perfectly for the Minutemen, who rattled off six-straight points, which caused Rabold to call a timeout. A tip and an ace on back-to-back points by Emma Barteau tied the game at 13, but the visitors built a 15-13 lead. The Jackets tied the game at 15, 17, 18 and 20, before a kill error by Lexington gave Mount Vernon a 21-20 lead.
After a minuteman timeout, service errors struck both sides. Facing a 22-21 deficit, Lexington rattled off four-straight points to take 25-22 win.
Both teams traded points to open the second set, before Lexington was the first to build a two-point lead at 5-3 and again at 6-4. Mount Vernon struck for five points in a row, including a kill from Kylie Ransom to take a 9-6 lead and force a break in the action. A tip by Barteau pushed the lead to 10-6, before Lexington rallied to tie it at 11.
The Jackets continued to edge their way forward, thanks to great defense, which turned in to opportunities to get the job done at the net.
“We have big hearts and amazing hustle. Our defense was all over the floor,” Rabold said. “They were picking up every dig and had great serve receive.
“I am so blessed to have the defense we have,” she added. “Laney Short, our senior libero, has stepped up tremendously this year and has been a leader and has been a beast in the back row. Cora Lepley and Maddy Burdette, who are sophomores, keep growing every game and every match.”
A block by Kate Merillat, followed by a tip from her two points later gave Mount Vernon an 18-15 lead, but Lexington clawed its way back into the contest with six-straight points to take a 21-18 lead of its own. The Minutemen never relinquished the lead, taking the set 25-20.
Mount Vernon came out in the third set firing on all cylinders, with a tip from Maddie Muncie pushing the lead to 5-1 out of the gates. A kill by Merillat extended the lead to 8-3 and the home team piled up a 13-7 lead, forcing a timeout. A lifted ball by the Minutemen gave the Jackets a 14-8 lead, but the visitors again came roaring back, rallying for six of the next seven points to trim the lead to 15-14.
Still with the lead, the Jackets scored on a two-touch from Lexington, going up 16-14, but after a series of trading points, found themselves down 19-18. Two more points for Lexington forced a second Mount Vernon timeout in four points. The Jackets tied the game at 21 and 23, but surrendered two-straight points to fall 25-23.
“We communicate and we work as a team well, it’s just in the big scheme of things, we are inconsistent,” coach Courtney Rabold said. “That’s our biggest issue is consistency, at the net mainly, and it’s just something that we’ve got to work on.”
The Jackets return to action Tuesday in another conference matchup, this time on the road, against Ashland, with freshman action kicking off at 4:30 p.m.
“Fundamentals and being smart with the ball and smart at the net,” Rabold said of what her team needs to improve on moving forward. “Being able to see the court and put the ball down when we need it.”