Lincoln Edges Leon in 3-2 Thriller

Lincoln Edges Leon in 3-2 Thriller

By Cole Maines, Tallahassee Reports

On Tuesday night, the reigning 6A district champions Leon Lions traveled to Lincoln High School for a Tuesday night volleyball match and the Trojans – in a five set match – did something they have not done since 2014 – they won!

The Match

A fresh faced Leon team begin the season dropping their first game at Forest High 3-1. They entered the Lincoln gym with the Trojans volleyball team seeking their first win of the season as well.

The more veteran Lincoln team began the evening hoping to take advantage of their experience. However, Leon began game one opening up a massive 11-point lead thanks to a couple of aces, wins at the net, and Lincoln misfires.

Lincoln was able to recover and found their footing late in the first but Leon was able to close out the first game with a win.

In set two the Trojans were awarded the opening point from a Lions serve that went out of bounds. Lincoln then followed it up with an ace. Leon did not go away and the two sided exchanged points back and forth for much of the second game. Lincolns net play started to allow them to separate themselves on the scoreboard as Leon’s youth started to show.

The Lincoln Trojans then found a recipe for success on the outside as they continued to set Dyani Steward who played her spikes between the Leon block for kills. Lincoln won game two and the back and forth did not stop.

The Lions opened up game three on a 6-1 run. Lincoln called a timeout and scored four straight and the two sides exchanged points for most of game three. Towards the end of the third set, the Trojans opened up a 20-17 lead when Leon responded with points and plays from Kenadie Greene and Amelia Haggins to tie the game at 21. The Lions were able to close out the third set with a win.

During the fourth set, miscommunication and miscues really starting to show for the younger Leon side. Lincoln opened up a 12-8 lead early, then found some separation and built an eight point lead thanks to great setting and some trickery from Ashlyn Koerner.

The Lions called a timeout and then scored three in a row to force Lincoln to call one as well. A long rally then unfolded with Mackenzie Kittel scoring the point to make it 20-16 as the Lions continued to build their way back into game four; now leading 23-22.

A miss hit from Lincoln and the scoreline read 24-22, with Leon one point away from winning set four and winning the match. However, the Trojans worked through their errors to tie the game at 24 and finished the set on top 27-25.

Into the deciding fifth set, there was no separation between the two sides throughout. The score first read 3-1 Trojans, but Leon came back to tie it at 4. Leon continued their run to stretch to an 8-5 Lion lead.

Lincoln then tied the game at eight. A couple of Leon errors gave Lincoln a 10-9 lead, but Leon quickly responded. Lincoln then opened up a two point gap forcing Leon to call a timeout at 12-10.

With the 15 point threshold for the fifth set around the corner, Lincoln and Leon battled at the net. The ball fell on the Lion’s side, rolling down a players body before that same player dug the ball up into the air. A whistle came and the referees called a double hit and the score now read 13-11, Lincoln.

At 14-11, match point for the Trojans, Leon was able to score, hoping for another comeback in a set and match where comebacks were plenty and separation was minimal. However, Lincoln shut the door, winning the fifth set 15-12 and the match 3-2.

Dyani Steward had 17 kills and Allison Tawney added 14 to pace the Trojan front line attack. While Alayna Montage and Keelah Chambliss each added 3 blocks.

On the defensive side, L.T. Lozano had 24 digs and fielded 44 service returns with just two errors

Head coach Taylor Zornes appreciated the battle. The difference was “how we battled. The game was back and forth. Our backs were against the wall and we responded to get the win,” she said.

“(We need to improve) in situations like tonight,” Zorne continued. “Going against a top team in a game we can win and pulling it out,” is something she felt her Trojans needed for their confidence.

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