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Senior leadership fuels late comeback win at Charleston 8/23/22

Alma def. Charleston (25-15, 25-21, 28-26)

Senior leadership fuels late comeback win at Charleston

By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools 


CHARLESTON — Beating a 3A school in the first week of the season isn't something that will make those you're chasing in the 5A-West take notice. 


But the team's 25-15, 25-21, 28-26 win over Charleston is something coach Kim Weaver believes could be an important building block. 


"Our task right now, it sounds funny, but we're learning how to win," Weaver said. "We're learning to withstand that (motto), 'The game is never over.' 


"The way the momentum swings in volleyball, if we can swing it back our way, the kids will start to believe in that."


Alma flipped the momentum not once but twice in Monday's victory. Down 20-17 in the second set, Julia Nutt’s no-look tip helped swing the momentum, and Alma finally took its first lead on Rachel James’ go-ahead ace (22-21). 


The third game is the one Weaver hopes will lead to better things. 


Trailing throughout, Alma dug itself out of a 24-19 hole with a series of clutch kills from Jenna Williams. 


"It shows that we have grit," Williams said. "I think it's a good thing to show teams that, 'Yeah, we may be down, but we're never out.' 


"That was a big win."


Williams had two kills in the first set, then poured it on after that to finish with a team-high nine kills. She had three kills in the second game that kept Alma within striking distance. 


There were other scorers as well, including James, Mia Nichols, Zoe Thrift, and Samantha Crook. 


Alma, which travels to Pottsville Thursday, took the opening set 25-15. 


But Charleston battled throughout the rest of the way, leading early in the second game before James’ go-ahead kill, and then building a 7-1 cushion in the third set before a series of Lady Tiger hitting errors helped Alma chip away. 


"We struggled in a couple of rotations," Weaver said. "But we were able to fight through that. That's what makes good volleyball teams — who can manage the dips. 


"I thought we did really well."


Trailing throughout much of the third set, Alma whittled away late by scoring five straight points and forging a 24-24 tie. They trailed twice more (25-24 and 26-25) scoring the game’s final three points and sending the bench into a frenzied celebration. 


"I think that says a lot about our seniors, and their ability to steer the ship," Weaver said. "Our younger ones look to them for their leadership."


JH sweeps 


Alma junior coach Whitney Adams was pleased with her team’s 25-14, 25-23 win over Charleston Monday night. 


Chloe Gregory and Emberly Kimes combined for nine aces, two kills, three blocks, and a dig. Gregory had six aces alone, and Kimes finished with three digs. 


Also for Alma, Maggie Brogan, Leila Householder, and Breella Hughes added two kills each. Matilyn Dunn had two aces and a pair of digs, and Annabelle Davis led the charge with five digs. 


Also for the Lady Airedales, Brooklyn Qualls and McKinzy Berna added an ace, and Qualls also contributed with a dig.