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Lady Red Devils fight back to upset Riverton

Posted: Tuesday, Oct 8th, 2013

The Lady Red Devils celebrate after clinching a fifth-set victory over No. 5-ranked Riverton on Saturday, Oct. 5, in Evanston. EHS had to win three straight sets in order to defeat the Lady Wolverines. (HERALD PHOTO/Jake Hibbard)

EVANSTON — Down two sets to none and behind in the third set 8-11, EHS head coach Tera Lawlar called a timeout. The Lady Red Devils were hosting No. 5 Riverton and the Lady Wolverines had just picked up an ace to take a three point lead in a would-be clinching set.

Whatever Lawlar said to her girls in the huddle must have worked because EHS came out of the timeout on a tear, scoring four-straight points to take the lead out of Riverton’s hands.

The Lady Red Devils would somehow completely flip the script from that point on, taking three consecutive sets to defeat the Lady Wolverines on Saturday, Oct. 5, in five sets (23-25, 16-25, 25-22, 25-20, 15-13).

The Lady Red Devils headed into Saturday afternoon’s match coming off perhaps their toughest loss of the season. EHS traveled to Lyman on Tuesday, Oct. 1, and lost in five sets to the Lady Eagles.

After Saturday’s comeback win, Lawlar talked about the change in her team that was sparked by the loss in Bridger Valley.

“After Lyman, we did things differently in practice Wednesday, Thursday and yesterday, and (the team) chose this. They wanted to know why they weren’t finishing those fifth games,” Lawlar said. “More so than being a great conference win, this is just an accomplishment to a challenge they set for themselves. When we went down two, we said that we can’t prove that we can win a game five if we don’t get to a game five first.”

The match started with an Evanston lead early in the first set.

Ahead 8-7, EHS gave up four points in a row to the Lady Wolverines to fall down 8-11.

A Hailey O’Neill kill would pull the set to within one point at 14-15, but the Lady Red Devils would lose eight of the next 10 rallies to fall behind 16-23.

EHS would come alive at this point, just two points away from losing the first set.

In a reversal of roles, O’Neill would set up setter Kim Derrick for a kill to pull the Lady Red Devils within two, 22-24. A great dig by Annie Guild on the following rally would put in motion the set by Derrick to O’Neill for the kill to make the score 23-24.

A service error by Hunter Jetkoski-Defries ended EHS’ comeback hopes in the first set 23-25.

Though they were so close to pulling off a first-set upset, the Lady Red Devils came into the second set lacking the same energy that was displayed in the first. EHS fell down 10-17 to the Lady Wolverines and just couldn’t recover, eventually losing 16-25.

The third and potentially final set started close. A Riverton service error tied the set up at 8-8.

The Lady Wolverines pulled ahead by three off an ace. That is when Lawlar called a timeout. The Lady Red Devils came out of the timeout on a roll with an O’Neill kill, followed by a Riverton whiff on a hit attempt.

Another O’Neill kill gave EHS the lead and a bump over the net by Allie Barker put the Lady Red Devils ahead 14-12.

An Ashlee Thornock kill put the team ahead 18-15.

Riverton would fight back to tie it at 19 and it would be neck-and-neck for the rest of the set. With a 23-22 lead, Thornock and O’Neill hit back-to-back kills to get EHS’ first set victory 25-22.

After a sloppy third set with multiple errors, Riverton returned in the fourth with better focus, which made for a another close start.

Down one point, Derrick surprised the Lady Wolverines by tipping the ball over the net to an unprepared defense. Derrick’s ace a couple of plays later put EHS up 17-15.

Ahead 22-19, the Red Devils called a timeout hoping to refocus the team after letting the Lady Wolverines back into the set.

Barker notched two more kills coming out of the timeout, and a Riverton hitting error tied the match up at two sets apiece with a 25-20 EHS victory.

EHS jumped out to an early lead in the abbreviated fifth set and Derrick continued to catch the Riverton defense off guard by tipping the ball just over the net instead of setting it whenever the opportunity presented itself. Her second tip of the fifth set put EHS ahead 6-2.

“When she does that, it catches everyone off guard, and it even surprises us,” Lawlar said. “It’s a smart play. We can’t overuse it, but it’s definitely a weapon. I mean, she’s definitely a force out there. Even at 5-4, she can block, and she can definitely attack.”

A Barker kill gave EHS a 10-6 lead, but the Lady Wolverines weren’t about to give up. EHS errors and a couple Riverton blocks quickly reversed the Lady Wolverines fortune and they found themselves ahead 11-12.

A service error by Riverton tied the set back up. EHS never looked back and rode the hard-swinging Thornock for three kills and a 15-13 win to pull off the improbable comeback.

“Our defense was our focus on Wednesday, but everybody had to play it,” Lawlar said. “We still let some easy balls get by, but we were working so hard on those hard balls, and we read better, so it was like we made plays that were not so spectacular but that were more routine, and that’s what they should have been.”

Thornock had 19 kills, hitting .361. Barker and O’Neill were next in kills with 13 and 11, respectively. Derrick finished with five kills and 44 assists, hitting .333. Sarah Frakes had two block solos.

After having four serving errors against Lyman, O’Neill had none against Riverton and notched three aces. Guild had 19 digs and Jetkoski-Defries had 11.

This pushes EHS to 11-7 on the season. The Lady Red Devils return to action tonight in Rock Springs. Varsity play against the Tigers is set to begin at 6 p.m.

For the complete article see the 10-08-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 10-08-2013 paper.

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