MOUNT VERNON — The two Ohio Capital Conference rivals that battled it out on the volleyball court at Mount Vernon on Tuesday refused to lose.
Except that one of them had to.
That was visiting New Albany, which lost to the Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets, 18-25, 25-10, 21-25, 25-18, 15-12, in one of the most thrilling matches in recent memory.
The win avenges a pair of losses to the Eagles last season. In both matches, Mount Vernon held a lead before letting it get away.
The Jackets have come a long way in one year.
“This win feels good,” Mount Vernon head coach Erica Feick said. “Any team that gives them this kind of a game, that’s the kind of team we can respect. (New Albany) is one of our top competitors, and it always seems like we just crumble when we play them.”
The match was a roller coaster ride throughout. Just when one team appeared to seize control, the other team would pull it away.
The difference ended up coming down to which team played more like a team.
The two teams split the first two games. Mount Vernon, which came off a disappointing loss to Olentangy Liberty, saw its bad fortunes continue with a loss in Tuesday’s first game. But the team turned things around in Game 2.
“I think our team was a little bit nervous,” said Feick. “After that first game, I told them, ‘We’ll get them,’ and they went out and put them away. Right now, you get one team one second, and the next second, they’ll go away and a new team will show up. So, right now, we’re a little inconsistent with how we play.”
After routing New Albany in the second game, the fun began. Neither team could muster a rally of more than three points at a time, and neither team held more than a 3-point lead until the Eagles clinched Game 3. New Albany kept Mount Vernon’s top threats along the net — Alex Miglin, Melissa Hall and Madisyn Montgomery — from scoring consistently. It was the play of the rest of the team, including Abree Green (35 digs) and Kate Reynolds (60 assists) that kept the game close.