Oct. 13—PALESTINE — The Elkhart Lady Elks defeated the Westwood Lady Panthers Tuesday night after overcoming a two-set deficit.
Tuesday night was the epitome of a cross-town district rivalry game. Westwood outlasted Elkhart in their first district meet up in five sets, so it was Elkhart's chance to return the favor.
Westwood jumped out to a 4-0 lead that increased to 7-2 in the first set. Chloe Petzold had a block and kill in the early part of the set that extended Westwood's lead to 12-6. The Lady Panthers maintained pressure on Elkhart — eventually increasing their lead to 16-8 behind a service ace from Brylee Mitchell and a kill for Jasya Coney.
Elkhart's Kassidy Thomas powered home a kill in the later part of the set that sparked a small run for the Lady Elks. Net defense from Thomas and Mallory Mays allowed Elkhart to climb back into the game — eventually closing within two until Coney ended the set at 25-22.
Set two displayed a higher level of competitiveness early on. Kills from Mays, Preslee Lipsey and Camryn Smith early in the set helped knot the game at nine. Coney's second kill of the set pushed Westwood forward 10-9.
Neither side allowed much breathing room for the opposition. The set went back and forth for the next several minutes until back-to-back Westwood errors pushed Elkhart in front 22-20.
A block from Lipsey extended Elkhart's lead to 23-20 before a pair of service aces from Lillie Mack trimmed their lead and sparked a 5-0 run to end the set, 25-23 Westwood.
The Lady Elks didn't allow Westwood to carry any momentum into the third set. They jumped out to a 7-0 lead thanks to service play from Mays and a kill from Thomas.
Westwood eventually burned a timeout after falling behind 9-1. Elkhart's lead ballooned to as much as 10 during the set behind the driving forces of Mays and Thomas. Westwood eventually caught fire late, but it wasn't enough to keep Elkhart from taking their first set — 25-20.
Set four showed potential early on of another dominant set from Elkhart. They jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but were answered with a 5-0 run from Westwood.
Kills from Thomas ignited a 6-1 run for Elkhart. Leading 13-9, Elkhart outscored Westwood 12-4 in the final minutes to take their second set — 25-13.
The final set appeared to swing entirely in the favor of Westwood. Three kills from Coney helped build a 9-3 lead. With match point at 15 in the fifth set, a higher sense of urgency was obvious for Elkhart. Elkhart responded with a 6-3 run, but still found themselves with the odds stacked against them as Westwood led 12-9.
Those odds seemed even less favorable when Elkhart fell behind 14-11. However, errors from Westwood and consistent defense from Elkhart allowed them to recover and outscore them 6-1 to win the final set 17-15.