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Lady Airedales picking up steam 9/3/20
Headline: Lady Airedales picking up steam
By Kevin Taylor
The Alma Lady Airedales passed another test Thursday night.
On the heels of a dramatic win over Farmington, Alma blew a late lead in the first set, then had to rally in the second game just to avoid falling behind 2-0.
Lillie Warnock had 10 kills and Bella Nutt had 21 assists and sophomore Rachel James had 15 digs to power Alma to a 22-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-18 victory at Charles B. Dyer Arena.
Lydia Swarnes had eight kills and Rebekah McIntosh and Aubrey James finished with six and four kills, respectively.
Rachel James' back-row defense seemed to give Alma a spark in the second set. And, once the Lady Airedales found their passing touch, Alma began to string points together.
"Rachel James is one of those kids that can do it all," Alma coach Kim Weaver said. "She's very solid defensively, and really, she's solid offensively, too. Her defense was a spark tonight and she kept a lot of rallies alive."
Alma led by as many as six points (10-4) in the first set before stumbling late. They nearly lost a 21-15 cushion the second set before a late push.
Pea Ridge (3-3) were on the verge of erasing another deficit in the third game when the Lady Airedales, down 21-20, finished strong thanks to Shelbi Hesson's ace and back-to-back kills from Warnock.
After a slow start, which netted no kills in the first set, Warnock put it together in the final two sets.
"We really have to work hard to get her involved early," Weaver said. "I think she feeds off that immediate gratification of a kill. But what she's going to have to improve on, is still being involved when she's not in the zone. Our setters weren't doing the best job of getting her the ball she needed (early).
"But that's not an excuse for her not to be involved in the transition."2-2)
Alma (2-2) fell behind, 11-7, in the fourth game before finding another gear. Hatley's ace and two kills from Swarnes helped the Lady Airedales grab a 13-12 lead.
McIntosh was instrumental in the comeback as well, contributing a trio of kills and some key defensive plays.
"She played tennis at 4:30 and came out here starving," Weaver said. "We got her something to eat, a candy bar, and she felt better. She's a great kid to have in the gym."
The Lady Airedales open 5A-West play Tuesday against Vilonia before hitting the road for Siloam Springs.
"I think we are in a very good place, which is necessary because we're going into a gauntlet of a conference," Weaver said. "For us to have these two wins, I think this is going to help us Tuesday against Vilonia."