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Jeffers comes from behind to beat Lake Linden-Hubbell, 3-2

PAINESDALE — It was a tale of two matches Thursday night at Jeffers high school. The Jets initially fell behind, losing the first two sets to Lake Linden-Hubbell in girls’ high school volleyball.

At that point — after coming from behind to win both those opening sets — it appeared the Lakes might be cruising to their second victory of the season. But the Jets turned the match into a dogfight, winning the next two sets to force a decisive fifth game.

That last set was nip-and-tuck the whole way, and Jeffers (4-5) finally put together three straight points to clinch the match (25-27, 19-25, 25-5, 25-20, 15-12).

This was a hard-fought battle throughout between two evenly matched teams. In the first set, neither squad had more than a two-point lead with multiple ties and lead changes until Jets senior Myra Pennala was able to serve up a six-point run and stake her team to a 22-15 lead.

The Lakes closed that gap behind the service of sophomore Brooke Banfield and the set was tied again at 23-all. Both teams traded points, with ties at 24 and 25, focing the set into extra points. An ace from Lakes senior Maci Dostaler closed it out.

“The first two sets we were not communicating at all,” Jets’ coach Rachel Torp said after the match. “We were not talking, we were making silly errors, (and) that just stacked up against us.”

In the second set, Jeffers had control early, up 4-1 with senior MaKenna Harris serving. The Lakes again came back as a team to take their own lead at 9-6.

It was back and forth from there until this set was also deadlocked at 18-18. From there LL-H took control. Senior Abby Beaudoin and junior Camaryn Crouch powered the Lakes’ attack from behind the baseline with a kill from senior Melissa Wagner to force set point, which the Lakes won on the next serve to take the game.

With their backs against the wall, the Jets came out with renewed purpose in the third set.

Harris again got the Jets going, serving to 4-0. LL-H fought back, but this time couldn’t get back to even. The tipping point of the match came when it was Jeffers junior Savannah Asiala’s turn to serve with a 13-5 lead. She kept the ball for the remainder of the set and cut the Lakes’ advantage to 2-1.

“With Savannah, we’ve been working on her serving so much at practice,” Torp said. “She finally got her tosses down and confidence is what comes into play. Her teammates got her pumped up, and I think that that’s what really (pulled her through).”

For a third time, Harris opened a set serving to a 4-0 lead for the home team in the fourth game.

“(Harris) is definitely the MVP of our team,” Torp said. “She can dig almost any single ball. She’s a smart player (and) she knows when she can hit and when she needs to just set the ball over.”

LL-H rebounded, tying the set at 8-8. The Jets then asserted themselves and got as far ahead as five points before the Lakes yet again made things very competitive at 21-19. Jeffers scored three straight points and evened the score with a long rally to take the fourth set.

In the final frame, the Lakes had one-point cushions at two different points in the set, but never put a run together. The Jets took control after being tied at 9-9, surging after a kill by Jeffers senior Miranda Heinonen, who then served out the match with two more points.

Lake’s coach Mandy Perreault was disappointed that her team let the match slip away, but was proud of how they stayed competitive all night.

“I think they really fought for it,” she said after addressing her team. “I told them I didn’t have many complaints about their play tonight.

Jeffers will take on Ewen-Trout Creek on Monday, the first of three matches next week before district play. LL-H will close the regular season with E-TC on Thursday.

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