MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets put up a good fight Tuesday against conference foe Wooster, but lost in three sets, but only by a combined eight points.
“I think we are clicking more and we are growing and becoming better every game,” Jackets coach Courtney Rabold said. “I told them to have their heads up high because we are just clicking in the front row now and everything is coming together.”
The Jackets found themselves down early in the first set, but a kill by Emma Summerfield pushed the home team ahead 8-7. Wooster came back with a vengeance to rattle off the next five points to go up 12-8, but Mount Vernon did not go away quietly. Down 14-11, the Jackets put together three-straight points, capped by another Summerfield kill to tie the game at 14.
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Mount Vernon came out swinging in Set 2. After a couple ties in the early going, a kill by Kylie Ransom pushed the team ahead 4-3. Summerfield had another kill to push that lead to 10-5. Although the visitors trimmed the lead to 12-10, the Jackets again pushed forward. A big block by Emma Barteau and Sarah Day gave the home team a 16-11 lead and after a Wooster timeout, Jordan Reeder pushed that lead up one more with an ace.
Rabold noted her team’s ability to adjust in-game with the marked improvement from the first to the second set.
“We’ve had issues of that in the past of just doing the same things over and over and not seeing any improvements,” Rabold said. “Now, they’re adjusting and now they’re seeing I need to do this and I need to do that. They’re doing a lot better with adjusting, which is also helping us in each set.”
After the 17-11 lead, the Generals settled in and starting stringing together some points, cutting the lead to 17-15, before another big block by Barteau restored the lead to 19-15. Wooster continued to chip away, tying the game at 22 and never looking back. Down 23-22, Rabold called a timeout and immediately after another Wooster point, she called another.
“It was more to try and break the server as well as get their confidence back up and hope we could actually close it,” Rabold said. “That is still our one weakness and that one little thing that we need is just closing.”
The second timeout worked for a bit. Reeder recorded a tip and Wooster misplayed a ball on the next point to even the score at 24 apiece, but back-to-back Mount Vernon errors gave Wooster the 26-24 win.
Other than an early 2-0 lead by Wooster, the third set was neck and neck. Mount Vernon opened up the games second two-point lead (10-8) with an ace from Laney Short. The visitors were not content with the Jacket lead and opened a 14-11 lead of their own, before Mount Vernon mounted its own rally to take a 20-17 lead. After being up 21-18, the Jackets surrendered the next five points to fall behind 23-21. A tip by Reeder and a kill by Day tied the game at 23, but the Generals secured the final two points to win 25-23.
“It sucks, obviously, and it hurts, but that’s when the whole closing comes into play and that’s our one little thing we need to learn to do,” Rabold said. “Once we have that down … we’ve got it.”
Summerfield paced the Jackets with 10 kills on the day, while Reeder and Barteau each kicked in six. Ransom notched five kills and Day and Lily Burnside, who had 25 assists, combined for five. Defensively, Short had 17 digs to led the team, while Maddy Burdette kicked in another 14. Burnside was the final Jacket with double-digit digs, amassing 11. Weezy Fiorilli and Cora Lepley both had six digs on the night.
The Jackets hit the road Thursday in another conference battle against West Holmes, with freshman action starting at 4:30 p.m.. Mount Vernon then kicks off its second round of conference games next week.
“I’m excited to show how we’ve grown as a team in this first half and just come hard,” Rabold said.