VEEDERSBURG, Ind. — The Covington volleyball team traveled to Fountain Central and while they lost the first game, the Trojans rallied to win the next three in close contests.
Fountain Central was coming off their first win of the year and came out strong in game one. It was actually their second win of the season thanks to an earlier forfeit, but the players only learned of it right before the start of the match with Covington.
“I told them they now had two wins,” said Mustang head coach Alyssa Larson. “It really got them going at the beginning - just what you’d want.”
Her team popped out to an 8-2 lead, forcing Covington coach Jen Sutherlin into a time out. The break helped the Trojans snap the Mustang run, but the visitors never got closer than two points in a 25-21 decision.
Game two saw Covington make a good run early to take a 13-8 lead and make Larson take a time out. This time the break only slowed the opponent and the Trojans took the game 25-17.
“We came out slow, which was a surprise,” said Sutherlin. “We played great against Benton Central on Tuesday and had a good practice on Wednesday, but we just weren’t ready to play until game two.”
Both teams got the lead and gave it up as game three progressed with neither able to do much until the Trojans went on a 9-2 run in the middle of the contest to take a 19-13 lead. Fountain Central closed the gap slightly but still fell 25-20.
“Our stretches of looking good are getting longer,” said Larson about the Mustangs. “We are working on consistency, but Covington is a good, solid team and we’re still learning.”
Larson said her team is focusing not only on being consistent, but also on some fundamentals.
“We’re working on our serving and our blocking in practice,” she explained. “We’ve come a long way since the beginning of the season.”
The Mustangs made a few service errors in the early games, but not in the fourth. That game saw almost no unforced errors with both teams displaying their passing, setting and hitting prowess.
Covington led early at 3-1, but Fountain Central came back to lead 8-6. The Trojans went up 13-10, but a service error on their part swung the momentum back to the Mustangs to took an 18-16 lead.
The hosts kept that lead until Covington ran off four straight to go up 21-20 and then 23-21. The Mustangs answered and took a 24-23 lead. The teams split the next points to make it 25-24.
Covington won the last two points to take the game 27-25 and the match three games to one.
Despite the outcome, Larson was upbeat about the play of her team.
“Our passing really stepped up - Taryn DePugh really played well in the back line - and so did our hitting,” said Larson. “Macee Williams was phenomenal - she’s rapidly going from just a freshman to one of the best players in the conference.”
Sutherlin was happy with how her team pulled out the win, especially coming from behind to take the fourth game.
“This was a good challenge for us and we stepped up and answered it,” she said. “Every time out in that fourth game, I kept saying ‘We’ve got to want the ball’ and they did it.”
Both coaches concluded by saying they were seeing progress in their young teams and were looking forward to more as the season continues.
Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org