Desoto County Sports

Northwest volleyball rallies for five-set victory at Itawamba

Photo: Jacia Hayes (left), Kennedy Smith and several other Northwest players were crucial to the Lady Rangers’ 3-2 win at Itawamba on Friday. Northwest is now 2-0 against Region 23 opponents and has won six straight matches. (Photo credit: Gather Lacefield)

Trailing 2-1 in Friday’s pivotal Region 23 match at Itawamba, Northwest rallied back to take the fourth set and crushed the Lady Indians in the fifth and final set, claiming a 3-2 triumph against ICC.

Northwest continued its six-match winning streak and improved to 6-8 overall. The win was also only the second time the Lady Rangers had beaten Itawamba and the first time a match between the two teams has gone to a full five sets.

Northwest wasted little time getting a big lead on the Lady Indians in the opening set. Although Itawamba worked the deficit down just a bit late in the first set, the Lady Rangers claimed a 25-19 decision and a 1-0 match lead.

Both teams traded points throughout most of the second set, but the Lady Indians took the lead late and took a 25-21 win, tying the match at 1-1. Northwest fell behind early in the third set and despite a late rally, the Lady Rangers dropped the third set 25-22 as Itawamba gained a 2-1 match lead.

Similar to other wins this season, the fourth set provided a turning point for Northwest. The Lady Rangers started out with some momentum and carried it throughout the fourth set, earning a 25-16 decision and forcing the tying fifth set.

Kennedy Smith led Northwest with 14 kills, followed by 12 from Micah Swift. Jacia Hayes led the Lady Rangers in total blocks, earning seven, while De’Aisha Browner followed with three. Four players finished with 10 or more digs, led by 24 from Kayla Beal and 12 from Kaley Rikard.

Kailey Gooch had 11 digs to go along with nine kills and four aces, while Cristen Cleveland totaled nine kills and 11 digs.

With the win, Northwest is 2-0 against Region 23 opponents for the first time in program history. The Lady Rangers will get a chance to sweep the regular season series against Pearl River on Wednesday, September 21 in Poplarville. The match will begin at 2 P.M., followed by a neutral-site match between Northwest and Lurleen B. Wallace at 4 P.M.

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