Just over 24 hours removed from their longest road trip of the season, and having already lost once to Crown College earlier this season, GNTC head coach Carrie Powell had reason for concern when her Lady Bobcats took the floor on Monday night at the Rossville Athletic Center in a rematch against the Crusaders.
Powell’s fears appeared to be warranted, especially after the Navy-and-Silver dropped a 25-22 decision in the opening set.
That’s when the Lady Bobcats found their roar once more.
GNTC came storming back to win the final three sets, 25-20, 25-15 and 25-22, to avenge the Aug. 30 loss and snap their four-match losing streak.
“Finally. It was good to win again, especially at home, and end this losing streak,” Powell said. “We played a little sloppy at times, but we played much better overall and we got to 25 first more times than they did, so that’s all that ultimately matters. Having lost to them before, having the long trip (Sunday) and the tough loss at Hiwassee (this past Friday), I’m proud of them for turning it around.”
Some excellent serving in early in the second set allowed GNTC to get out to a 17-7 lead, although they nearly lost it before finally tying up the match with a 25-20 win.
The Crusaders got out to a 4-1 lead in the third set, but the Lady Bobcats clawed their way back to tie the match at 7-7 before reeling off six unanswered points to grab the lead for good. A couple of nicely-placed back row kills by Rachel McGill and Ashley Bradley and a late kill by Layne Jenkins paved the way for a 25-15 win.
With momentum clearly on the side of the home team, GNTC exploded out of the gates in the fourth set. They led 10-1 and increased their advantage to 14-2 on an ace by Katlyn Bishop.
Crown finally got going and charged their way back into the match, cutting the lead all the way down to 17-14 and forcing Powell to call a time-out. But after the brief break, GNTC clicked off four straight points, two on aces by Mikiah Treece.
The Crusaders would rally one final time, pulling to within 24-22, but a final kill by veteran Casey Chapman would finally put the match away.
“I think we finally just calmed down after that first set,” Powell explained. “We had a run there where we served it pretty well, won some long rallies and got some big hits. Overall, it was just better communication than what we’ve been having.
“We made some mistakes and our serving was a little off at times, but we had a much better attitude and played a whole lot better as a team.”
Sabrina Garcia led the way with a team-high seven kills to go with three digs. Chapman collected six kills, six digs, three aces and a pair of blocks. Holly Mount added five kills and four blocks, while Jenkins finished with four kills and two aces.
McGill had 11 assists and eight digs. Treece paced the team with 20 digs and added four aces, while other standouts included Bradley (6 assists, 4 digs), Bishop (6 digs, 1 ace), Sara Birge (5 digs, 4 aces) and Erin Hurley (2 kills, 1 block).
GNTC (3-5) will go back on the road this Saturday for a 1 p.m. match at Welch College in Nashville, Tenn. They will be back at home next Monday (Oct. 6) for tri-match against Oakwood University out of Huntsville, Ala. and the Covenant College junior varsity squad, starting at 5:30 p.m.
Pictured: Sabrina Garcia goes up for a kill during GNTC's Monday night home match against Crown College in Rossville, while Holly Mount (left) looks on.