Lewisburg girls’ volleyball has themed the 2023 campaign as the Revenge Tour, inspired by the belief their latest MHSAA state championship appearance should have been last year. But that appearance came Thursday, Oct. 19 when the Lady Patriots tackled top-ranked Brandon for the first MHSAA 7A state title. After trailing the match 2-0, coach Amy Hendrichovsky’s Lady Patriots had rallied from the brink of defeat to edge Brandon 3-2. Set scores were 17-25, 23-25, 25-20, 25-18, and 15-13.
SET ONE: BRANDON 25, LEWISBURG 17
After trailing 1-0 early, Lewisburg came back to take a 4-2 lead when Jayda Bradley scored off a Brandon player. The Lady Bulldogs would tie the set at 4-4 but Bradley again scored off a block for a 6-5 Lady Patriot lead. Brandon took a 7-6 lead when Lewisburg could not return a volley, and the Lady Bulldogs would hold the lead for the rest of the set.
SET TWO: BRANDON 25, LEWISBURG 23
A kill from Ella Grace Holloway and a combined block from Lana Ferrell and Kennedy Inskeep fashioned an early 2-0 Lewisburg lead. However, a push violation tied the set at 4-4. The Lady Patriots could not return the ensuing serve to give Brandon a 5-4 lead and the Lady Bulldogs kept the lead the rest of the set, leading by as much as 15-10 at one point and 19-13 after a kill. Lewisburg mounted a comeback, getting within 21-20 after Brandon was called on a violation, and actually took a 23-22 lead when a volley went long. Brandon scored the final three points to win the set.
After the set, Hendrichovsky said her team came back by being more aggressive.
“I had a defensive plan but our middles weren’t doing it in the first two sets,” Hendrichovsky said. “They started doing it in the next three sets and that started putting more pressure on their outsides. It made them try to find other people to score. We executed better and we got over our nerves.”
SET THREE: LEWISBURG 25, BRANDON 20
Lewisburg again snapped up the early lead with a kill from Holloway, an ace from Ferrell, a kill from Hallie Wright and a combined block for a point from Wright and Claire Smith. Brandon rallied and took a 7-5 lead but Lewisburg tied the set again when Bradley scored off a tip for 7-7. The set back-and-forth until Wright’s kill gave Lewisburg a 14-11 lead and Brandon called timeout. When Bradley scored twice off a block, the Lady Patriots led 18-13 and Ferrell’s ace later in the set made the score 22-16. Two Brandon long serves moved the score to 24-18 and Lewisburg went on to win the set.
SET FOUR: LEWISBURG 25, BRANDON 18
Bradley served five straight points to start the set for Lewisburg, but Brandon recovered just as quickly to take a 6-5 lead. Ferrell’s point off a block tied the set to 6-6 and Lewisburg went on to score four straight points off a Holloway kill and two Bradley aces. Brandon moved the set back within 10-9 but another Lewisburg run separated the Patriots again. Baylee Burchyett served a pair of aces in the run to 14-9 and the Lady Bulldogs called timeout. Six straight points put Lewisburg ahead 22-12, a run that included three service aces from Smith. A Brandon block got the Lady Bulldogs within 22-15 Lewisburg, which called timeout after another Brandon block cut the margin to 23-17 ahead of the final set outcome.
SET FIVE: LEWISBURG 15, BRANDON 13
A Holloway block gave Lewisburg a 3-2 lead and after a volley went out on the next point, Brandon called timeout, trailing 4-2. A violation increased the lead to 6-3 Lewisburg but the set was tied when a Holloway kill attempt went long. Ferrell dropped a shot inside the line for a 9-7 lead and after another kill, Brandon called time again, trailing 11-8. The Lady Bulldogs pulled within 11-10, but Lewisburg scored four of the final seven points, aided by kills from Bradley and Holloway, and this point that won the set and the match.
“This was so player-driven,” Hendrichovsky said. “After the second set, the players got in a huddle and they were fired up. If you want to win a championship, your players have to drive the bus and coaches just enjoy the ride.”