Olivia Riley, Contributor
CHILLICOTHE — An eight-point deficit is no match for Huntington’s aggressive offense. That was evident Tuesday night.
The Huntsmen (5-1, 3-0 SVC) earned their third conference win while handing Zane Trace (4-1, 2-1 SVC) its first loss, in four sets, by a 25-22, 19-25, 25-21, 25-23 final.
A back-and-forth match, to say the least
Early in the match, the first set was clearly in favor of Huntington; as the team took leads of 10-5, 17-11, and 21-16. Zane Trace then closed the gap, trimming the deficit to two at 21-10.
But after that, the Huntsmen settled down and took the first set … despite multiple amazing defensive efforts from Pioneer senior Alli Bennett.
But the Pioneers didn’t let the first set loss bother them.
They raced out of the huddle and grabbed a 7-4 lead in the second and, behind their six seniors, the Pioneers polished off a 25-19 win to tie the match.
The third set was anyone’s game. With Huntington leading late, ZT needed to answer. Hannah Hale fired down the line for a kill to tie the set at 18, but the Huntsmen then went on to steal the win after a string of hitting errors from ZT.
A stellar comeback for the TWP
Down 2-1, Zane Trace needed to force a fifth set to stay alive in the match.
The Pioneers’ start looked promising as they leapt to a 9-1 lead behind a stellar serving run from senior Laynee Hill.
It looked like as if the two were indeed headed headed towards a five-set thriller, but Allison Bayse and Megan Steele had other plans.
With those two veterans leading Huntington’s offense, the Huntsmen overcame deficits of 9-1 and 20-14 in the fourth to win the match in four by a 25-23 match-clinching final.
“What a comeback,” Huntington coach Tina Magill said. “We were down eight early and, still, six late. We got in the best lineup and started racking up the points.”
Bayse, a junior, led Huntington with a whopping 25 kills. Steele, also a junior, added 15 while Katie Hirsch posted 14. On defense, Harmony Henneberger recorded 31 digs. She was followed by Steele and Bayse who had 29 and 16 digs, respectively.
For the Pioneers, Lexi Scott posted 10 kills while Bennett and Alexis Farley both had nine each. In the back row, Lexi Betts totaled 33 digs with only four dig errors on the night. Betts also was 35-of-38 on serve receive while Laynee Hill posted 22 digs and three aces.
After defeating the Pioneers, Huntington will now host Southeastern (3-3, 0-3 SVC) on Thursday, looking to stay undefeated in the league.
The Pioneers will travel to Bainbridge the same evening to face the Paint Valley Bearcats (2-3, 1-2 SVC).