The Muskogee Lady Roughers dug deep and played with as much grit as they’ve shown all season as they scored a 3-1 (25-23, 15-25, 25-15, 25-18) win over Tulsa Washington Tuesday night at home to even their record on the year at 5-5.
“I knew it was going to be a good match going in,” said coach John Hammer.
“We didn’t execute very well in the second set. We had 10 hitting errors, but to come back and win the next two sets was big. We played with so much emotion and intensity those last two sets.”
The first set was close all the way with Muskogee pulling out of a 20-20 tie to capture the two-point win. Then, as Hammer mentioned, not much went right for the Lady Roughers in the second set in terms of hitting even with Washington aiding the Muskogee cause by committing five service errors on their way to capturing the set.
But Muskogee got its groove back in the third set as they jumped out to a 6-1 lead. The Roughers maintained the margin at 13-7 only to see the Lady Hornets go on a 6-1 run and pull to within a point at 14-13.
Muskogee got the serve, up 16-14, and rattled off four points including a key block by Mya Williams to make it 20-14. Washington would get one more point before the Lady Roughers would close out the set with five unanswered points that included a kill by Alexis Boyd, a block by Laila Harshfield and a service ace by Riley Schuter to take the set convincingly.
The final set was tight until Muskogee forged a 12-7 advantage. Washington answered with a rally of their own to chop the difference to two at one point, 14-12, and eventually tied the game at 16-all.
But with Jazzy Henry serving, Muskogee made its best run of the night, scoring six straight points.
“Our front row, which didn’t play well in the second set, accepted the challenge at that point and they got some touches against their big hitter and even a stuffed block. We served well and did a lot of little things that helped us make that run,” said Hammer.
In the middle of that run, Muskogee won an incredible point that brought Hammer and the bench to its feet.
“That was one of the best hustle plays I’ve seen in a long time,” said Hammer. “I don’t remember who actually got the initial block and it deflected off their hand and Paige (Irwin) went flying out of bounds and got the dig and somehow Laila got her body turned around and got the kill.
His recall wasn’t limited in just the action but also the reaction.
“I don’t remember what I did,” he said. “I think I did a couple of 360s but the girls seemed to enjoy it. And when I got done dancing I looked up and there were 10 girls passing me by and jumping and dancing.”
Statistically Chloe Lamont and Jazzy Henry were the assist leaders with 13 each on the night. Irwin had 10 kills and 13 digs and four aces, Jenna Winters had 17 digs. Henry also had four kills and seven digs to go with her assists and Schuler had four digs and three aces.
“Our passers passed consistently tonight. Paige continues to play well and consistently every night. Jazzy as a sophomore setter is starting to connect with Paige a lot and has really come on and Jenna Winters has done an excellent job having never played libero before,” said Hammer.
The Lady Roughers will next be at Tahlequah for action on Thursday.