In the first game, Lincoln started out with a 3-0 lead behind the serving of Katelyn Bean. Fayetteville managed to cut the lead to 15-14 and eventually tie the game at 18-18 and again at 20-20. While the Lady Wolves were able to tie the game, they were never able to take the lead. Shelbi White had two kills and Bean had two aces to put the Lady Bears ahead 23-20, eventually winning 25-22. White finished with a game-high four kills, while Bean had a game-high five aces.
Fayetteville showed resilience in the second game. Lincoln took an early 6-1 lead with a White kill and four points by Rachel Leonard. Fayetteville rallied to cut the lead to 13-10. Lee had eight straight points off her serve to gain an 18-13 advantage. Lincoln managed to cut the lead down to 20-18 behind three straight points by Clancy Carlisle. Fayetteville received three straight points from Catherine Nelson to gain a 24-19 advantage, going on to win 25-20.
In the third and deciding game, Fayetteville led from the beginning. Lincoln gained a 7-6 lead and the game swung back and forth between the two teams until Pennington had a kill, which drew a big reaction from the home crowd. Emily Swancott had two straight points and Lee’s kill gave Fayetteville a 15-10 win. Lee had a game-high three kills. Pennington had two kills, while Bean led Lincoln with two kills.
Fayetteville head coach Anita Simpson was pleased with the way her team fought back to win after losing a tough, close first set.
“Catherine Nelson had a really good game,” Simpson said. “We seemed to have it together on front line and back line. We had some good hits from MacKenzie Pennington. They worked great as a team. They stuck it out. They played together. They didn’t give up; I thought for sure after that first one, they’d let their heads hang. Eireonia Sanders came out strong in that last set and did a good job. She showed lots of hustle.”
Despite the loss, Lincoln head coach Patty Hansen was encouraged by the effort displayed by her team.
“All of my girls played really hard tonight,” Hansen said. “I didn’t have one that stood out more than another. I had my whole team playing hard in this game and that’s what we needed.”
Seeing great improvement comes at just the right time: the Talladega County Tournament will be Saturday at Lincoln.
“It was the best we’ve played in several weeks,” Hansen said. “I had every girl playing the way they needed to be playing. There’s great potential in the girls. We’re looking forward to Saturday’s County Tournament. It’s going to be an exciting time for all of our county’s schools.”
Prior to the match, Fayetteville honored the seven senior members of the team: Jasmine Huntley, Paige Lee, Sydney Murphy, Catherine Nelson, Eireonia Sanders, Emily Swancott and Maesa Thacker.
“I kind of went with a different lineup just because it was senior night,” Simpson said. “I started all of my seniors in different positions, but that’s the best part about them: wherever I put them, they’re going to play hard.”
Six of the seven seniors started in the first two games. Huntley was unable to play due to injury.
The Lincoln JV squad defeated the Fayetteville JV squad in two straight sets by scores of 25-21 and 25-22. Lincoln dominated the first game and came back after trailing 10-5 early to take their first lead at 22-21 and going on to win the second game.