McHenry, MD – This one may take a while for the Lakers to get over.
Garrett College seemed poised for an impressive women's volleyball win, leading Beaver County Community College 2-1 in games and 23-15 in last Wednesday night's fourth game. Instead, the visiting Titans (12-17) fought off two match points in that fourth game and then outlasted GC (9-8) in the tiebreaker on the way to a 25-21, 15-25, 21-25, 28-26, 16-14 comeback win.
Beaver County trailed by as many as nine points in Game 4, but the Lakers couldn't put their guests away as Titan Haley Pelini (11 kills) took over at crucial points down the stretch. Pelini's stuff capped the 8-0 run that created a 23-23 tie and, two points later, saved a match point with a kill.
GC had a second match point after Titan Alexis Hill sent a hit long to give the Lakers a 26-25 lead. However, Garrett's Kendra Friend and Teyaurra Harris (12 kills) each netted hitting attempts to give the Titans another game point, which they converted when another Harris hit went long.
The fifth game was just as close as the fourth, featuring six ties. Garrett, which overcame an early 3-0 deficit, then erased a 13-10 hole with a 3-0 run that was climaxed by Jada Maxwell's middle hit off a Samantha Kennell set. A Pelini kill got the Titans to match point, but Pelini then netted a hitting attempt to create the game's final tie at 14-14.
Garrett's G'Vahn Pace (6 kills) was called for touching the net, giving Beaver County a 15-14 lead, and Pelini finished off the Lakers with one final kill.
"She definitely came up big when it counted," GC head coach Kim Harsch said of Pelini, adding that the Lakers hurt themselves at key moments in the match.
"Not to discredit BCCC's effort, but we just made too many mistakes," said Harsch, noting her team's 19 service errors. "That's almost a whole game we gave away with missed serves."
Game 1 featured eight ties, the last at 20-20, before the Titans won five of the final six points. Hill put Beaver County ahead to stay, 21-20, with a kill before Friend sent a hit long. Beaver's Sidnee Scurlock netted a serve, pulling the Lakers within a point, but Friend sent a serve long to restore Beaver's two-point advantage.
Garrett's Game 1 hopes ended with violations on the final two points to cement the Titans' win.
The Lakers' Game 2 win was highlighted by a pair of Lauryn Moon service runs of six and five points, respectively. Moon's first service run gave Garrett an early, 8-3 lead and her second string served out the game after Beaver had cut a nine-point deficit to 19-15.
Garrett took a 20-19 lead in Game 3 as Scurlock was called for a double-hit on a set attempt. A Friend ace expanded the Laker lead to two points, but Friend sent her next serve long. Harris' outside kill restored the two-point lead, but then Harris sent a serve long as Beaver pulled within 22-21.
The Lakers are off until the NJCAA Division II Region XX tournament November 2-4 at the College of Southern Maryland. The loss to Beaver County was critical in that the Lakers will now have to face off against undefeated Montgomery College in Friday's region tournament opener.
"The girls has been resilient all year, and that's what we're going to be asking of them again," said Harsch.