Locked in a tight, third-set battle, Marionville looked for a difference-maker.
It found two on the front line.
Senior hitters Tori Brown and Kymbra Kirby keyed a crucial run to close out the third set and down Pierce City Monday night (25-13, 19-25, 25-14).
After splitting the first two sets, both teams struggled to build momentum in a back-and-forth affair. Each time Marionville managed to gain a small lead, Pierce City quickly closed the gap.
PHOTOS: PIERCE CITY VS. MARIONVILLE
When a big, two-point rally cut the Marionville lead to 17-14, Pierce City seemed poised for a significant run.
Unfortunately for the Lady Eagles, Brown and Kirby had other plans.
With Brown rotated to the service line and Kirby at the net, the Lady Comets ripped off eight straight points to finish the set and win the match.
Dominant throughout the evening, Kirby was able to find another gear when it mattered most.
The senior middle hitter converted four kills during Marionville’s closing burst in an impressive striking display.
“We have to play at a certain level of intensity,” Kirby said. “We can’t get too excited, but we can’t get too quiet, either, or we just lose it. Even if I’m the only one being loud, I have to, and then, one-by-one, each person just got louder and louder. You could tell our intensity really matters out there.”
The screaming Kirby finished with a match-high 22 kills and 5 blocks. Not to be outdone, Brown added 11 kills, 1 block and an all-important ace down the stretch.
A senior outside/middle hitter, Brown was quick to point out the way both hitters complement one another.
“I love having her up there,” Brown said. “I know if I can just get it over and in, Kymbra can put it down if she needs to. Whenever I was back there, I wasn’t going to let anything drop. It’s kind of a good duo. ”
Marionville head coach Ashlynn Engler discussed the difficulty her team can face at times trying to find the right balance between aggression and control.
“In the huddle, I told them we play at one intensity level,” Engler said. “When we play either above or below that, we struggle. They had to work really hard to find that level. Once they started getting the kills and the blocks, they started getting excited again. That added into their momentum and helped them finish the game.”
Marionville libero Mikayla Campbell turned in a solid senior performance, as well, pacing the Lady Comet defense with a match-high 19 digs.
For Pierce City and head coach Cheyenne Hill, the late rally boiled down to one key factor.
“They placed balls where we didn’t,” Hill said. “We had a couple errors, and volleyball’s such a momentum game that it’s easy to get ahead, and it’s easy to fall behind. Unfortunately, we fell behind this time. It’s the most frustrating game to play, because you beat a team and then lose to that team in the same night. That just shows you that you could have beaten them, and you didn’t.”
Christine Stellwagon led Pierce City with 18 digs and 9 kills.
Both teams are back in action on Tuesday. Marionville (5-2*) travels to Hollister, while Pierce City (5-3*) visits College Heights Christian.
Varsity Final: Marionville – 2, Pierce City – 1
Marionville 25 19 25
Pierce City 13 25 14
JV Final: Pierce City – 2, Marionville – 0
*Records do not include weekend tournament results