WELLSTON - The Wellston Lady Rockets volleyball team survived a five-set thriller (25-14, 25-23, 25-27, 16-25, 15-12) with Meigs in the final home match of the 2018 regular season to send nine seniors off on a high note.
Before the match, seniors Shai Brandau, Tory Doles, Emily Kisor, Harley McGhee, Sydney Mullins, Molly Smith, Kelli Aubrey, Madison Mullins, and Tressa Lambert were honored for their four years of being in the program.
With the win, the Lady Rockets finish the regular season with a 9-12 mark on the season, including 3-9 in TVC-Ohio competition under head coach Hilary Nichols.
"This group of girls has been outstanding," Nichols said about her nine seniors. "They have honestly been a blessing and fun to coach. They have been with me for four years, and they have bought into what we wanted to do, and have had a big impact on the program."
Tressa Lambert had five kills in each set, including six in the fourth to finish with a career-high 26 for the Lady Rockets. She also had two blocks and six digs.
Kelli Aubrey finished with 10 kills and one block, and also added five digs, while Sadie Henry had six kills, with one block and seven digs.
Wellston defensive specialist/libero Sydney Mullins paced the defense with a match-high 43 digs. Three other Lady Rockets finished in double digits in digs, including Madison Mullins with 22, while Molly Smith had 21, and Kamryn Karr added 11.
Setters Nevaeh Ousley and Karr quarterbacked the offense, finishing in double-figures in assists with 24 and 21, respectively.
The Lady Rockets came out strong in the first set. They trailed 1-0, before pulling ahead for good on a kill by Sadie Henry to claim the opening frame. Lambert had five kills, including one on match point to take a 1-0 lead.
The momentum remained with the Lady Rockets in the second set, as they never trailed to win 25-23.
"The gym was loud and exciting, and I think it helped us in the first two sets," Nichols said.
Meigs avoided the sweep with a win in the third set and cruised in the fourth set for a 25-16 win to even the match 2-2, and force a deciding fifth game.
"We ended up losing 27-25 in the third set, so it wasn't like we were getting beat. We had some plays that could've gone either way, and Meigs started to come on with their defense. They started digging up our hits, and we had trouble finding the open court," said Nichols.
"I thought Kelli had a great night at the net, and Tressa with her 26 kills. She had a great night. She came out strong and played well all over the court, and Emily had a nice night as well. Maddie, Molly, Shai, and Sydney cleaned up everything in the back row, but the net play tonight was probably the best we've seen in two or three weeks. That's what helped us win the fifth set."
A pair of kills and a block from Lambert, including a kill by Doles and a service ace by Molly Smith early in the fifth set gave the Lady Rockets a 6-2 lead. However, the Lady Marauders came storming back to close the lead to one on four separate occasions, before a kill by Lambert and a Meigs attack error sealed the win for Wellston.
Maci Hood led the way for the Lady Marauders with 15 kills, followed by Marissa Noble with nine to go along with one block.
The Lady Rockets will begin sectional tournament play on Tuesday at home against Ironton in a semifinal match at 6 p.m. Meigs will play at Nelsonville-York on Monday at 6 p.m.