Against a team which had Greenwood’s number, the Lady Bulldogs dug deep to get a much-needed win Tuesday.
Through the first four games, the Lady Bulldogs and Mount St. Mary’s Academy turned in hard-fought efforts, with each team winning twice. Finally in the decisive fifth game, Greenwood pulled away when it counted and came out with a 25-23, 24-26, 24-26, 25-22, 15-9 win in 7A/6A-Central play, avenging an earlier loss to the Belles. Greenwood also lost twice to Mount St. Mary’s last season. l
“When we went down there in the beginning of conference and we lost three straight, I knew they were beatable because they were three very close games and I came away thinking it’s not finished, we’re not done with them yet,” Greenwood coach Jennifer Golden said. “I just knew when we got them at home, we could get them so I was proud of the way we came out.
“Game 5, I just loved that we came out and we rolled. It wasn’t like the other games where we kind of let them hang with us, we came out, we took charge of the game and we just rolled with it, that was the best part of that one.”
With the match even at 1-1, Greenwood (9-8, 4-6) seemed to be in control of the third game after taking a 22-17 lead. But the Belles rallied to tie it, and with the score even at 24, they recorded consecutive aces to pull out Game 3. Then Mount St. Mary’s opened a 9-3 lead in Game 4.
However, the Lady Bulldogs responded. They came back to briefly lead, and then with the score tied at 16-16, the Lady Bulldogs reeled off six straight points. Mount St. Mary’s scored the next six points to tie it once more before Greenwood finally shook off the Belles, taking advantage of a service error as well as an ace from Ariel Pinkston to force Game 5.
Trailing 3-2 in Game 5, Greenwood went on a 3-0 run — capped by a kill from freshman Madi Pfeifer — to move in front for good. The Lady Bulldogs then extended the lead and led by six on four occasions, including the final margin after a kill from senior Maddie Gilliam — one of her team-high 17 kills on the night.
“I completely think this was a team effort because when one person makes an outstanding play, the whole team (feeds) off of it. … It’s all a team, without a pass I couldn’t hit and without a great set I couldn’t hit,” Gilliam said.
“We knew coming into this game they were a 7A team and getting a 7A win was so vital to getting a good spot at state, so we were all ecstatic, we were so happy that we beat them. It was a great win.”
Greenwood also rallied in Game 1. Trailing 23-19, the Lady Bulldogs scored the next six points, which featured several outstanding plays up front by sophomore middle hitter Erin Black, to steal the win. Greenwood also led 22-19 in Game 2 before Mount St. Mary’s came back to even the match.
“We made a few errors, we let them get to us and then they got the best of us in the end,” Golden said. “But it worked out in our favor.”
Gilliam also led the team with 26 digs and four aces to go with four blocks. Pfeifer recorded seven kills and seven blocks, Black had 13 kills, 11 digs and 16 assists and Pinkston finished with 21 digs. Abbey Lejong had 19 assists and 15 digs as well for the Lady Bulldogs.