MASON, W.Va. — It was wild, but not as wonderful as the West Virginia program would have liked.
Visiting South Gallia rallied back from a 2-1 deficit and picked up its first league win of the season Wednesday night during a hard-fought 26-24, 18-25, 13-25, 25-19, 15-10 victory over Wahama in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division volleyball match at Gary Clark Court in Mason County.
The Lady Rebels (2-5, 1-2 TVC Hocking) and host Lady Falcons (0-2, 0-2) battled through 18 ties and 22 lead changes over the course the night, and both teams showed that the contest was going to be a dog fight from the start.
There were nine ties and 10 lead changes in the opening game alone, with both teams holding four-point leads at one point in Game 1.
The Red and Gold built leads of 23-20 and 24-21 late, but Wahama answered with three consecutive points to knot things up at 24. South Gallia, however, rallied with the next two points and ultimately secured Game 1 by the minimal two-point outcome.
The Red and White responded in a most impressive fashion as the hosts never trailed in Game 2 and led by as many as 11 points (22-11) en route to a seven-point win, tying the match at one apiece.
South Gallia answered the bell in Game 3 after building a quick 4-0 cushion, but Wahama countered with 11 straight points and led by at least four points the rest of the way. The Lady Falcons were firmly in command after taking a 2-1 match advantage with the 12-point decision — the largest lead of the night by either squad.
Game 4 proved to be a short battle as both teams went through seven ties and seven lead changes in reaching 16-all, but the guests scored nine of the last dozen points and ultimately tied the match at two.
The Lady Rebels built a 5-0 lead in the decisive fifth game, but the hosts answered with a small 7-3 run to close to within 8-7.
Wahama was never closer as the Red and Gold scored five straight points and ended regulation on a 7-3 charge that completed the come-from-behind triumph.
The Lady Falcons owned a 19-12 advantage in kills through the first three games, but South Gallia answered with a 13-6 edge in successful spikes over the final two games. Both teams finished the night with 25 kills apiece, and Wahama also scored a total of six more points in the five-game setback.
After the game, SGHS coach Sarah Shirley was very proud of the determination and collective effort displayed by her girls in rallying back from an adverse situation.
“It means a lot to get out of here tonight with a road win, as it does any time you can get a road win in the TVC Hocking,” Shirley said. “The girls fought hard and our veterans really stepped up and became leaders when we needed it. We picked up some momentum and intensity there in Game 4 and we were fortunate to maintain that the rest of the way. It’s a good win for our girls.”
WHS coach Matt VanMeter, on the other hand, was frustrated with the way things played out … particularly after such a dominant display through the first half of the match.
“It was there for our taking, and we just gave them too many extra opportunities,” VanMeter said. “When you miss serves and hit good spike attempts into the net, things are going to come back and catch up with you. I don’t want to take anything away from South Gallia, but momentum was on our side and it shifted because we made a lot of little mistakes. If we take the mental mistakes away, I don’t even think this one would have gone five. As it is, we just have to get back to work and keep on improving.”
Christine Griffith led the South Gallia service attack with 14 points, followed by Emma Shamblin with a dozen points and Rachal Colburn with 11 points.
Makayla Waugh was next with five points and Amaya Howell added four points, while Faith Poling and Katie Bowling each had a point in the win.
Colburn led the net attack with 16 kills, with four of those coming in the each of the final two games. Griffith was next with six kills, while Howell, Waugh and Bowling added a kill apiece.
It was also South Gallia’s first road victory of the 2018 campaign.
Harley Roush led the Wahama service attack with 17 points, followed by Emma Gibbs and Alexis Mick with 10 points apiece. Grace VanMeter was next with eight points, while Logan Eades and Hannah Billups completed things with five and four points, respectively.
Billups led the Lady Falcons with seven kills, followed by Gibbs and Eades with five kills each. VanMeter had three kills, with Roush and Mick contributing two kills apiece.
South Gallia returns to action Monday when it travels to Ohio Valley Christian for a non-conference match at 6 p.m.
Wahama hosted Belpre on Thursday and returns to TVC Hocking action Tuesday when it travels to Glouster to face Trimble at 6 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.