A pivotal four th set saw the Alief Elsik Lady Rams come from behind and capture the momentum en route to a 3-2 five-set victory on Tuesday night against the the Sweeny Lady Bulldogs by scores of 23-25, 28-26, 20-25, 25-21, 15-9

“I think that fourth set got to us,” Sweeny coach Evaree Ray said. “We need to be mentally tougher, but those mistakes are getting to us and costing us.”

Sweeny got off to a hot start in the fourth set and jumped out to an early lead. The Lady Bulldogs already led the match 2-1 and were looking to close the match out. Megan Kessler led the way with three fourth-set kills as she was the focal point of the offense. Kessler received a set on the left and came up with a powerful kill down the line to give Sweeny a 15-8 lead in the set.

From there Elsik began its run, and soon Sweeny’s lead was trimmed to just one at 17-16. Adell Alford for Sweeny came up with a big block and Kessler with another kill from deep, and Sweeny still led 20-19.

Elsik took over at that point as Lauren Collier’s kill gave the Lady Rams a 23-20 lead before her third kill of the set gave Elsik the set win.

Elsik started the fifth set off with a 7-0 run as it capitalized off the momentum from the fourth-set comeback. Joyceline Onwuemeka had two early kills as the Lady Rams looked to put the set away early. Sweeny started to fight back and a kill from Alford followed by a good hit from Ashley Dailey brought the Lady Bulldogs to within three at 9-12, but Elsik then pulled away.

After falling behind 9-4 in the first set the Lady Bulldogs fought back from the slow start. They were led by senior Kessler, who had five of her 12 kills in the first set. A clever tipped kill from Kierstyn Wesley brought Sweeny within one at 18-19 before a run gave the Lady Bulldogs match point, and Kessler finished the set with a kill for the 25-23 win.

“When we are focused, our offense is pretty much unstoppable. We’re a great team when we want to be, but right now we’re a roller-coaster team, and I’m ready for us to be consistent.” Ray said.

The second set was also separated by just two points as Sweeny fought back from down 4 late to tie the score at 24 on a long rally before it took the lead on an ace from Asha Strauther. However, Collier came up with a kill to tie it back up, and the teams traded points before Collier put the set away for a 28-26 Lady Rams win.

The teams stayed within two points of each other in the third set most of the way as well, with Lorelei Irby having a kill and ace consecutively to put Sweeny up 19-16. Kessler came up big again with two kills for a 22-18 lead, and the Lady bulldogs held on for a 25-20 win to take a 2-1 set lead.

The loss drops Sweeny to 12-17 on the season. It plays next on Friday as the Lady Bulldogs host Terry at Sweeny High School.

Joel Luna is sports editor for The Facts. Contact him at 979-237-0160 or at joel.luna@thefacts.com

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