Down one game and already trailing Game 2 10-0, it appeared the Harris County volleyball team would succumb to Northside for its first area loss of the season.
The Lady Tigers slowly battled back in the closely contested second game before cruising in the rubber match to defeat visiting Northside 2-1 (19-25, 29-27, 25-15).
With the win, Harris County (29-8, 4-0) is now one win away from clinching the area championship.
They just showed a lot of heart, coach Robert Grant said after the match. A lot of fight. I told them during a timeout early on that we had dug ourselves a hole, but I was confident we could get out, and we did. They never quit.
The Lady Tigers never strung together too many points in the second game, but they also kept Northside (26-12, 2-2) from holding serve for more than a point or two. After giving up the 10 consecutive points to start the game, Harris County chipped away at the lead, picking up two and three points at a time before finally tying it at 24.
With Northside one point from winning, the Lady Tigers scored three in a row, the last of which came on a long volley that finally touched the ground on the Northside side of the net. Northside had three more opportunities to win, going up 25-24, 26-25 and 27-26, but Harris County battled back each time before finally sealing the match-tying victory 29-27.
We arent a team full of tall girls, Grant said. We dont have any 6-foot-4 people. Were what you would call scrappy. We work hard, and we dont get down. Weve been fighting all year.
Grant also noted that the crowd, which has had precious few opportunities to see Harris County play at home of late, was in full voice. Their enthusiasm during the second-game comeback helped his teams energy level.
It was evident in the third game as Harris County jumped to an 8-3 lead and never looked back, winning 25-15 to grab the win.
It was great to get the crowd into it, Grant said. This win will go a long way for us.
Harris County was led by Sarah Howard (14 kills), Faith Pearson (12 kills) and Rachel Howard (30 assists, 19 digs).
While Northside showed an obvious ability to play with the best in the area, winning the first game and erupting to a quick lead in the second, coach Lindsay Johnson was unhappy with the teams inability to close the door.
You cant let them come back when you go up 10-0, she said.
Still, Grant praised opponent.
Theyre always a good match, he said of Northside. Theyre a well-coached club. Thats why I like playing them.
In the loss, Northside was led by Carly Smart (2 aces, 14 digs, 4 kills and 14 assists), Katie Jordan (1 dig, 7 kills), Lindsay Shirah (5 digs, 4 kills and 2 blocks) and Katelynn Ellis (19 digs).
Thursday at Harris County
Northside 25 27 15
Harris County 19 29 25
Leaders: Northside Carly Smart, 2 aces 14 digs, 4 kills, 14 assists, Katie Jordan, 1 dig, 7 kills, Lindsay Shirah, 5 digs 4 kills, 2 blocks, Katelynn Ellis, 19 digs; Harris County Sarah Howard, 14 kills, Faith Pearson 12 kills, Rachel Howard, 30 assists, 19 digs. Records: Northside 26-12, 2-2; Harris County 29-8, 4-0. Next match: Northside Thursday at Hardaway. Harris County Thursday vs. Lee County at home.