By Paul Hines
WEST FRANKFORT —
The Lady Rams volleyball team cruised to an opening game win against Centralia in Tuesday's regional semifinal game.
The lead didn't last as the Annies rallied past Mt. Vernon for the three game victory.
Centralia won the match 12-25, 25-20, 25-20.
Hannah Owens led Mt. Vernon with eight kills in the match. Five came in the opening game win for the Rams.
Mt. Vernon used a strong serving game early in the match. The Lady Rams tallied eight aces in its first game win.
“That first game, the serving is what put us on top definitely,” Mt. Vernon coach Angie Higgins said. “We lost that the second two games. That's what hurt us the most.”
Rachel Kirsch tallied three straight aces to put the Lady Rams up 10-4. Later in the match Owens started slamming down kills.
The next two games were battles between the two teams.
Centralia worked its way to a 20-15 edge after a kills from Kaylee Hoelscher. The sophomore followed with a block to give the Annies a six-point edge. The game ended when Molly Koester put a shot into the net.
Centralia led throughout the final game. Mt. Vernon closed to within 12-11 after a pass from the Annies drifted wide.
That was as close as the Lady Rams got.
The critical stretch came when Kirsten McGowen committed a serving error. The Lady Rams followed with three more errors. The mistakes allowed the Annies to take a 16-11 edge.
“Our serving is probably what killed us, especially that third game,” Higgins said. “We missed three serves, at least three serves.”
Mt. Vernon finished the season 15-14 overall. Centralia plays Benton in the regional final game Thursday.