MERCERVILLE, Ohio — What may not exactly be the easiest on the heart, it is definitely great for the soul.
That’s because the South Gallia High School volleyball team — for the second consecutive match — managed to lose the opening two games before rallying to win the final three.
On Monday night, the Lady Rebels fell behind to visiting Belpre by counts of 25-22 and 26-24, but stormed back in dramatic fashion to win the final three sets — 25-21, 25-21 and finally 15-11 in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division tilt.
“They’re (Rebels) going to give me a heart attack,” said South Gallia coach Sarah Wright.
Indeed, the young Lady Rebels may be stressing their mentor to the max, but at least they are fighting from behind and finding ways to win.
Last Thursday, South Gallia trailed two games to none against winless Wahama — only to sweep the final three.
And although either club could have won all five games in Monday’s match, the same scenario saw itself play out for the Lady Rebels against Belpre, which swept them in straight games at the Eagles’ Nest.
In fact, in the fifth game, the Golden Eagles amounted an 11-10 lead on a Trinidy King kill.
But the Rebels reversed course, and scored the final five points for the come-from-behind triumph.
“They are dedicated and still fight for it (victory) after they get down 2-0,” said Wright. “We have to start picking it up early on, so that we’re not digging ourselves out of a hole, but we’re starting to come around and get more experience and develop as a unit. They are playing really well for this time of year.”
With the win, which was South Gallia’s third consecutive, the Lady Rebels raised their record to 5-14 — and 4-10 in the TVC-Hocking.
Belpre fell to 4-16 — and also 4-10 in the league.
The Golden Eagles ended the opening game by scoring the final three points to win 25-22, then battled through a hard-fought nip-and-tuck second set that featured six lead changes and 11 ties, including at 24-24.
In fact, South Gallia gained a 12-6 lead in the second set, as six points was the largest advantage either team had on the other at any point in the match.
The Rebels’ comeback began late in game three, when the Golden Eagles made it 20-18 in their favor following a service error.
But South Gallia scored six straight to make it 24-20, and overcame an attack error with an Erin Evans kill to slice the deficit to 2-1.
In the fourth game, Belpre pushed in front 12-10 following the set’s second lead change, but the Rebels reeled off eight in a row — giving them their second six-point cushion of the contest at 18-12.
The Golden Eagles earned four consecutive to make it 18-16, and once again trailed twice more at 22-20 and 23-21, but back-to-back kills by Evans and Taylor Burnette made it a second-straight final of 25-21.
Finally, in the drama-filled fifth set, Belpre gained a 10-8 lead to break an 8-8 tie, thanks to back-to-back kills by Sydney Hall.
There were also ties of 1-1, 4-4, 5-5 and 7-7, as Belpre’s first two leads in the game were at 1-0 and 5-4.
The Rebels forged a 10-10 tie, before Belpre scored its final point on another King kill.
But Evans tied the bout for the final time at 11-11, thanks to a thunderous cross-court kill that none of the Eagles had a chance at.
Then, sandwiched between a pair of Christine Griffith aces was a Golden Eagle attack error, then a final return went long for the 15th and final Rebel point.
“We had some big plays that really helped out,” said Wright. “Christine (Griffith) and Rachal (Colburn) really played well at the net, and we had our freshmen come in and serve — Amaya Howell, Kara McCormick and Alyssa Cremeans. They did really well coming in and helping us in the spots where we needed some extra serving help.”
Burnette led the way in aces with five, part of 17 service points as she was 28-of-29 serving.
She also set for 15 assists, as Olivia Hornsby had six to go along with seven service points.
Both middle blockers stuffed the stat sheet, as Rachal Colburn mustered a team-high nine kills, with Griffith and Evans adding eight apiece.
Colburn and Griffith combined for nine blocks, with Colburn recording five and Griffith four.
The tandem also had three aces apiece, with Colburn leading with six digs — while Evans added six service points.
Griffith and Amaya Howell had eight service points, as Howell hit a pair of aces.
Daisy Cowdery collected a massive 20 kills for Belpre, while Hall had half of that amount.
Cowdery and King combined for six blocks with three apiece, as Katie Osburn amassed 23 assists.
Abbey LaFatch served up four aces, including three in a row in the fifth game — turning a 4-1 deficit into a 5-4 lead that was jump-started by a Cowdery kill.
The Rebels returned to TVC-Hocking action on Tuesday night at Miller, and return to the road tonight (Wednesday, Oct. 12) for a non-league encounter at Symmes Valley.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106