Pearl River earns hard-fought sweep at Lawson State
Published 8:29 am Thursday, September 30, 2021
By Tyler Johnson
The Pearl River volleyball team claimed another sweep Wednesday, defeating Lawson State 3-0 (25-23, 25-15, 25-23).
“I thought it was a good match,” head coach Haley Chatham said. “We got to try some of our personnel in new positions, we passed well so we were able to use our middles a ton. Every ball Leighton (Willoughby) swung on was a kill.”
Pearl River (13-3 overall) has been very tough and resilient this season and has used it to their advantage, defeating several talented opponents in straight sets.
“I’m proud of our energy on the court and sidelines,” Chatham said. “It isn’t easy to be on the road, hop off the bus, and play with high enthusiasm knowing you will immediately turn around to take a long trip home, but our road warriors prove they can do the hard things time and time again.”
Lawson State (7-12) opened the scoring in the first set of the day, but the Wildcats equalized and then claimed the lead through a service ace by Allison Carpenter (Ocean Springs).
From there the two teams exchanged blows for most of the first set with neither team able to gain the upper hand.
Midway through the set it looked like the Wildcats were running away with the set pushing the lead up to 14-8; however, Lawson State did not go quietly coming all the way back and making it a 24-23 contest.
Pearl River withstood the surge and claimed the first set 25-23.
Pearl River hit the ground running in set two, claiming 10 of the first 11 points.
The run included a big service run by Carpenter and four kills from Diamond Jones (Gonzales, La.; East Ascension), Leah Draine (Mobile, Ala.; Mattie T. Blount) and Avery Beth Durdin (Olive Branch; Lewisburg).
From there the Wildcats continued to assert their dominance in the set with multiple kills throughout leading by as much as 11.
Pearl River coasted to a 25-15 win in the set.
Pearl River rode the momentum from set two into the third set, claiming the first few points. Lawson State didn’t go quietly answering every Pearl River score with their own.
The back-and-forth theme continued for all of the third set with neither team able to gain momentum over the other.
Lawson State scratched back to claim the lead late at 23-22.
Pearl River equalized to tie the match at 23 each and after a critical Leighton Willoughby (Brandon; Northwest Rankin) kill, the Wildcats had a 24-23 lead.
Pearl River capitalized on the momentum scoring the final point through a Durdin service ace, claiming the match in the process.
Draine made her presence known early and often grabbing four kills throughout the match.
Carpenter continued to impress through her serving, claiming three aces and leading the Wildcats on their largest service run of the night in set two.
Willoughby was a force for the Wildcats up front, pitching in with six kills including a crucial one in the third set that tilted the momentum in Pearl River’s favor.
The Wildcats return to action this Saturday at home against Bevill State with the match set to get underway at 2 pm. The match will be livestreamed at PRCCMedia.com/gold.