By Nick Hampton
In the clutch, it was a freshman leading the way to victory.
Allie Jiles stepped up to the service line with the third set hanging in the balance and served five straight winning points, including a service ace, to help the Lady Roughers avenge an earlier loss to Sequoyah 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-19) at the Muskogee girls gym Monday night.
“I’m the only freshman on the varsity and so I just got in and did my best,” said Jiles. “I got those five points in a row and that put us back in the lead so we could win.”
After scratching out wins in the first two sets, Muskogee roared out of the gate to a 13-2 lead in the third set and looked like they would win going away. But the Lady Indians, ranked No.4 in Class 4A, fought their way back to eventually take the lead at 18-17 before Jiles’ heroics got the ship righted for the Lady Roughers.
“Avenging the loss was nice, but letting them get back in to that third set was not,” said Roughers’ coach John Hammer. “We talked about it after the match and no matter what the score, you can’t play satisfied. I want them to develop a killer instinct and want them to want to beat someone 25-0, not to embarrass them, but to get the sense that anything is possible.”
Muskogee (15-9) led most of the way in the first set, going up 21-16 late in the set. Sequoyah fought back to within one at 22-21 before the Lady Roughers scored three of the final four points, finishing out the set on a kill by sophomore Claire Farmer, who had a match-high 20 kills. Audrey Ballou led the Lady Indians with seven kills..
The second set was even tighter with neither team leading by more than two points and with nine ties, the last being at 20-20. But again in the clutch, the Lady Roughers ran off four straight points and staved off a late rally by the Lady Indians (24-5).
Sequoyah coach Jay Herrin knew Muskogee would be keyed up for revenge after they beat the Lady Roughers last weekend 2-1 in the Coweta Tournament.
“We knew they’d really be up to beat us,” said Herrin. “I felt we didn’t play as well as I wish we would have, but Muskogee had a lot to do with that. They’re a very talented offensive team and it was just a good, good high school volleyball match.”
Besides the play of Farmer, Jiles, and Jensen Farmer who had 33 assists, Hammer also had praise for Alexis Rosson.
“Alexis played really well. She had 11 digs but her passing on service was really good,” said Hammer.
Rosson had the excellent game while still adjusting to her new position as libero.
“It was such a drastic change,” said the senior. “I was used to being up front on the wing and suddenly I’m in the middle on the back row. I like it, it’s fun. But I kind of miss being up front.”
Hammer hopes this win and last Thursday’s win over Ponca City will help jump start the Lady Roughers back into a consistent winning pattern.
“It’s funny you used the word momentum because we’ve talked a lot about that. It seems once a team gets it, it’s hard to take it away from them.”