EA outlasts Dutchtown in five-set thriller
Heading into their district matchup on Thursday night, East Ascension and Dutchtown had combined for 22 straight victories.
It appeared the Lady Griffins were on their way to winning their 15th straight as they took a 2-1 lead and then went up 10-5 in the fourth set, but the Lady Spartans battled back to force a decisive fifth set.
There, East Ascension was able to explode out of the gates with an 8-2 lead. They then did just enough to hold off Dutchtown and ice away their eighth straight win.
"The kids' mental state changed, which was a big factor in the two games that we lost," Lady Spartan head coach Jamie Gilmore said. "We mentally were trying to overplay. We settled down and played our game, and took it one game at a time."
East Ascension had a great start. They went up 7-2 in the opening set.
Although Dutchtown eventually tied things up at 20-20, the Lady Spartans ended the frame on a 5-1 run to take a 1-0 lead.
The beginning of the second set went back and forth until the Lady Griffins were able to get themselves a little breathing room at 17-13. They eventually evened things up with a 25-20 victory.
Dutchtown then went up 9-6 to start the third, but East Ascension responded with a 6-1 run to take a 12-10 advantage.
From there, the set went back and forth until a Zoe Wooten kill and an East Ascension error gave the Lady Griffins a 25-22 victory.
Dutchtown kept the momentum going. Another big kill by Wooten gave the Lady Griffins a 10-5 lead to begin the fourth.
However, the Lady Spartans continued to fight back. An ace by Truli Joseph tied things at 15-15, and a score by Daisha Mosley gave them their first lead of the set.
Eventually, East Ascension stretched the advantage to 20-17. From there, they pulled away from Dutchtown.
A Joseph kill and a Lady Griffin error gave the Lady Spartans a 25-19 victory and forced a fifth set.
East Ascension continued to play inspired as the deciding frame began. A block and an ace by Joseph gave them a 10-3 lead.
Dutchtown did their best to catch up, going on a 5-0 run to get within 12-9, but they wouldn't score again.
The Lady Griffins closed out the set on a 3-0 spurt to take the set, 15-9.
"These kids fight hard every day, and they work hard. I couldn't be more proud of what they do every single day at practice and in games," Gilmore said. "We struggled in the beginning with the mental aspect of the game, but we've been getting better at that, and I think that's where it got better for us tonight. We were able to bounce back and take control of the game."
In the loss, Wooten had 18 kills for Dutchtown, while India Bennett had nine. Alex Logarbo had seven, along with a team-high 13 digs.
East Ascension was led by Mosley, who had a match-high 25 kills, along with eight digs. Joseph was close behind with 18 kills, eight digs and four blocks.
Londyn Brown led the match with 31 assists.
The loss was Dutchtown's first since Sept. 14. It dropped their overall record to 23-2.
As for East Ascension, it improved their district mark to a perfect 3-0, and it improved their overall record to 20-6.
"We focus on one game at a time," Gilmore said. "Dutchtown is a really good team. I thought that we kept them off-balanced in the games that we won and kept their big girls from hitting. That was huge for us. These girls needed a big win like this. The fact that we went down two sets and had to fight back, it's gonna be huge for them moving forward."