(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
ORAN -- Already down a set and facing a 10-1 deficit in the second, New Madrid County Central looked to be on the verge of an early night on Thursday as host Oran set their sights on a sweep.
Rallying back to take the second game, however, NMCC came back and fought through a tight third game to pick up their sixth win of the season, 19-25, 25-21 and 25-22.
"One good thing I have to say about these girls is they don't quit," NMCC head coach Brad Kolwyck said. "We've played from behind in quite a few games already this year and we seem to play three sets just about every time."
Holding the momentum after leading the entire way through a 25-19 first set win, Oran came out of the break and opened up the second game with a Chrissy Sauceda ace on their way to taking the first seven points.
NMCC finally got on the board with the next point, but Oran continued to push ahead as far as 11-2 on a kill from Addie Kielhofner.
Before things could get any worse, something seemed to click for NMCC as they rallied for the next five points to close to within four at 11-7. After dropping the next two points, NMCC proceeded to reel off another five-point rally that closed them to within a point and forced Oran to burn its final timeout.
With time to refocus, Oran made one final push and pulled ahead 16-12 before NMCC took over once again thanks in large part to the serving of Shabria Grandberry. In a 9-0 run that gave NMCC the lead for good, Grandberry served up four crucial aces that helped her team pull ahead 21-16.
"When she's on, she's on," Kolwyck said of Grandberry. "She has a real tough serve to return, especially when she's hitting it with top spin and she's getting it in."
NMCC moved ahead to match point, at 24-18, before Oran made one last stand with a three-point run that included back to back aces from Sauceda.
Needing only a point to seal the win, Alecia Nelson tipped a ball over the net for the final point that forced a third set.
"That was pretty tough," Oran head coach Paul Bucher said. "The first set we played great, couldn't have played any better. In the second set, we came out with the same intensity and had it 11-3 at one point.
"We kind of got carried away a little bit and let our guard down."
Despite the letdown, it was once again Oran with the edge early in the third set, taking an 8-3 advantage to start things out. Though there was no big runs this time around NMCC chipped their way back into the game and tied things up at 18-18.
Capitalizing on three-straight Oran errors, NMCC took the lead for the first time in the set at 19-18 before pushing ahead to 22-19.
Forcing NMCC to call a timeout, Oran came back to tie things up at 22-22, but NMCC took the next two points to set up match-point.
"Our girls played their hearts out," Bucher said. "They battled the whole night. A couple mistakes here and there was the difference in a three-point game."
On his team's win, Kolwyck said, "Hopefully our girls get some confidence now to be honest with you. We went to the SEMO Spikes Tournament and got fourth in the silver bracket and then came out against Charleston on Wednesday and beat them.
"(After tonight's win) hopefully they get some confidence in themselves for next week and we can come out and not have to play three sets each time."
NMCC moved over the .500 mark on the season at 6-5 while Oran stands at 1-3.
Next up, NMCC will host South Pemiscot on Monday at 6 p.m. while Oran won't be back in action until Tuesday, Sept. 25 when they host Sikeston at 6 p.m.