BY PAUL HINES
MT. VERNON — The Lady Rams volleyball team started slow but out slugged West Frankfort in three games Thursday night.
Mt. Vernon won the match 22-25, 25-18, 25-17.
“We started slowly,” Mt. Vernon coach Angie Higgins said. “I don't know if it was the nerves with the crowd. I think our serving killed us that first game, mostly. We missed four or five big serves.”
In the decisive game, Mt. Vernon repeatedly passed the ball to front row hitter Hannah Owens. The junior finished several passes with booming kills.
West Frankfort closed the final game to 15-14 before Owens and the Lady Rams took over. Mt. Vernon closed the game with a 10-3 run. A final mistake from West Frankfort ended the match and touched off a celebration from the Lady Rams inside steamy Changnon Gymnasium.
“I'm proud of them for fighting back and not giving up and letting the other team just keep the momentum in the second game,” Higgins said.
The turning point came at the beginning of the run when Owens blocked a West Frankfort kill attempt, and then rattled off three straight kills.
“Hannah had a big night,” Higgins said. “She had some great hits, and her passing has come a long way too. She served really well.”
Mt. Vernon struggled in the early going. West Frankfort stormed to a 7-0 lead, and the Lady Rams appeared unsettled at the outset.
Despite giving up the quick points and falling in a big hole, the Lady Rams rallied and gave themselves a chance.
Mt. Vernon battled back to tied the game at 22. But three straight hitting errors gave West Frankfort the win.
In game two, Mt. Vernon and West Frankfort traded points throughout the game before the Lady Rams took control late.
Mt. Vernon is 2-0 this season