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Alma Grinds Out Win 8/24/21

Alma grinds out win

By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools 


Good balance and a quick start to the fifth set helped Alma pull away from Charleston Monday, 15-8, in the fifth and deciding set of the team’s 2021 home opener at Charles B. Dyer Arena.

The Lady Airedales’ 26-24, 20-25, 25-18, 19-25, 15-8 victory wasn’t without a few momentum swings. 

But when it came to crunch time, coach Kimberly Weaver’s crew delivered. 

“The way we started was super important,” Weaver said. “That’s something we’ve really tried to talk a lot about — to have that urgency from the beginning. Obviously, there needs to be even more emphasis on it because it (the game) ends at 15."

Harless' ace seemed to take a little steam out of the Lady Tigers. 

"Jocely Harless had a great serve to put us up 3-0; that set us up in a good position," Weaver said. “Because of the lead we had early, we could start making some gutsy swings, and those turned into points for us.”

“It was a big relief,” Harless said of the team’s quick start in the fifth set. “We just all work hard together, and even if we lose a set, we all know how to come back together and put up the energy to play.”

Rebekah McIntosh and Rachel James finished with nine and eight kills apiece for the winners. Jenna Williams had 10 assists and five kills. 

James added eight assists.

“We finished with a lineup we’ve practiced with, but in the middle we were running things we have not really practiced,” Weaver said. “The kids are learning the game of volleyball in a way that prepares us (coaches) to make adjustments within a match, and that’s really what allowed us to win tonight. 

“Our kids played different positions when we needed them to play.”

Alma had a pretty remarkable comeback in the first set. Up early, 10-5, the Lady Tigers charged back and held a 22-18 advantage and eventually led 24-21 when Alma ran off five straight points for a 26-24 triumph. 

Junior Samantha Crook’s kill and Harless’ ace gave Alma some early wiggle room in the fifth set. James added two kills for a 5-2 lead, and Jenna Williams’ kill and another ace from Laila Boyd made it 10-4.

Harless and Boyd combined for 27 digs on the back row. 

“I just have to go with the flow,” Boyd said. “Even if it was a good dig, I can’t really think about it. I have to get ready for what’s coming next.”

Kristen Lindley had 15 digs and Williams finished with 13 digs.