The Ash Grove Lady Pirates fought back after losing game one 25-13 to a tough opponent, the Fair Grove Eagles. The Pirates came out strong in games two and three, to defeat the Eagles 2-1 (25-18, 25-16).
Game one found the Pirates trailing by as much as 15 points with a score of 24-9. Halee Cashio helped the Pirates narrow the final score to 25-13 with a series of solid hits aimed at holes in the Eagles’ defense.
Before game two, Ash Grove coach Duane Cox reminded his team to focus on the game, not the opponent.
“I told them to quit worrying about who they’re playing and just play. I told them to be aggressive and play hard; they know how to play the game,” said Cox.
In game two, the Pirates came out with a solid defense and aggressive plays to take an early and relentless lead. The Eagles committed a series of errors—a bad serve, hits into the net, and poor passes.
Fair Grove coach Tonya Peck expressed disappointment that her team handed Ash Grove points through their own mistakes.
“Ash Grove kids executed, and we didn’t. We had a lot of mistakes. I don’t like to be a giving team, and we gave tonight,” said Peck.
The Eagles had a brief glimpse of a lead in game two at 13-12, but the Pirates did not allow them to hold onto it long, winning game two 25-18.
The Pirates’ focus on the game continued in game three. Ash Grove defense consistently met Fair Grove’s attempts to score. The Eagles’ Haley Stallings tried to inspire her team to victory with 11 digs on the night, but her efforts could not overcome the Eagles’ uncharacteristic errors.
“This is a learning moment, so we will come from this and improve,” said Peck.
“It was just so exciting to play. We’ve been so pumped up for this game for so long, and it was so fun to beat them. It was awesome,” said Lady Pirate Abby Arico, who made 8 kills.
Pirates libero Madi Johnson (jr.) helped her team with an aggressive defense, including 16 digs.
“It was really intense. We came out as a team. We pulled together and got the win. We’re looking for a conference championship,” said Johnson.
Cox instructed his team to enjoy the victory, but only briefly.
“It was fun coming out on top. They need to go to bed tonight and wake up thinking about Stockton,” said Cox.
Ash Grove plays at Stockton on October 11. Fair Grove faces Marionville on October 11.
Ash Grove 2, Fair Grove 1
(13-25, 25-18, 25-16)
Abby Arico, 8 kills
Jamie Mauss, 13 assists
Madi Johnson, 16 digs
Mikala Hicks, 9 kills, 14 assists
Morgan Kensinger, 13 kills
Haley Stallings, 11 digs