STEWART, Ohio — It’s not how you start, but rather how you finish that makes the difference.
The Eastern volleyball team decisively won the opening game of its Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division match in McInturf Gymnasium on Tuesday, but the host Lady Lancers edged out the Lady Eagles in each of the next three games to take the match.
Eastern (8-7, 6-4) — which has now dropped three of its last four decisions — never trailed in the Game 1, leading by as many as 10 points en route to the 25-17 victory.
Federal Hocking jumped out to a six-point, 9-3 lead early in the second game, but the Lady Eagles battled back opened up a six-point lead of their own at 16-10. Leading by the same margin, at 20-14, Eastern surrendered 10 consecutive points to the Lady Lancers, who went on to win by a 25-22 count.
The guests led by as many as five points in the third game, but the Maroon and Gold charged back and took their first lead at 19-18. Eastern tied the game at 19, 20 and 22, but never regained the advantage, falling by a second straight 25-22 final.
FHHS led initially in the fourth game, but the Lady Eagles fought back to claim a three-point advantage at 8-5. The Lady Lancers tied the game at 10 and again at 11 before taking the lead for good at 12-11.
Federal Hocking led by as much as six, at 19-13, before having its lead cut back to two points, at 23-21. From there, the Lady Lancers claimed the next two points, capping off the 3-1 victory with a 25-21 win in the fourth.
The EHS service attack was led by Morgain Little with 13 points, including a pair of aces. Allison Barber was next with 11 points and two aces, followed by libero Elayna Bissell with seven points and one ace. Mackenzie Brooks marked six points and one ace in the setback, Morgan Baer added five points, while Jenna Chadwell and Kelsey Casto had two points and one point respectively.
Barber led Eastern at the net with seven kills and five solo blocks. Chadwell contributed six kills to the Lady Eagle cause, Brooks chipped in with four kills and four blocks, while Little finished with three kills. Baer recorded a team-high 19 assists, while Barber came up with a team-best 16 of the team’s 63 digs.
The Lady Eagles committed just three service errors in the setback, but had 16 attacking errors.
Paige Watkins and Brittnie Jackson each had 13 service points to lead the Lady Lancers. Hannah Dunfee was next with 12 points, Jaylen Rogers chipped in with three points, while Audrey Blake, Taylor Gillian and Lindsey Parsons added two points apiece.
The season series between these teams is tied at one, as Eastern won in five games on Sept. 5 at ‘The Nest’. The Lady Eagles will look to bounce back when Southern visits Tuppers Plains on Thursday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.