STEWART, Ohio — A worthy effort, but unbeaten no more.
The Southern volleyball team dropped its first league match of the season on Monday night during a heartbreaking 25-16, 23-25, 26-24, 17-25, 15-12 setback to host Federal Hocking in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division contest in Athens County.
The visiting Lady Tornadoes (4-4, 3-1 TVC Hocking) overcame a slow start in Game 1 and took their only lead at 8-7, but the Lady Lancers countered with a 13-5 surge while securing a commanding 20-13 edge.
The hosts followed with a small 5-3 run the rest of the way to claim a 9-point win and a 1-0 match lead.
SHS again needed time to secure its first lead in Game 2 at 7-6, but Federal Hocking responded and found itself clinging to a 23-21 edge late in the second contest. The Purple and Gold, however, reeled off four consecutive points while tying the match up at one apiece.
FHHS built a 23-19 lead in a tightly-contested Game 3, but the hosts answered with five consecutive points for a 24-23 edge.
The Maroon and Gold staved off a game point by breaking serve and added two more scores to claim the minimal 2-point win … and a 2-1 match advantage.
The Lady Tornadoes jumped out to leads of 5-0, 9-6 and 15-11 in Game 4 before scoring 10 of the final 16 points to force a pivotal fifth game with an 8-point win.
Southern led 1-0 in Game 5, but the Lady Lancers rallied with nine of the next 11 points. SHS closed the gap down to 13-12, but the hosts broke serve as part of two consecutive points to wrap up the 3-2 match triumph.
Baylee Wolfe and Kayla Evans led the Southern service attack with 12 points apiece, followed by Phoenix Cleland and Sydney Adams with 11 and eight points respectively.
Cassidy Roderus and Kassie Burton were next with four points each, while Jordan Hardwick also chipped in two points.
Adams also posted a team-best three aces, with Wolfe, Hardwick and Evans also recording an ace each.
Hardwick led the net attack with 16 kills, with Wolfe and Roderus contributing five kills apiece. Adams and Evans also had two kills and one kill, respectively, for the guests.
Evans, Wolfe and Hardwick each recorded two blocks apiece, with Roderus also accounting for a block in the setback.
Southern hosted Miller on Tuesday and returns to TVC Hocking action Thursday when it travels to Wahama for a 6 p.m. contest.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.