A sweeping success: Eagles fly past Lawrence County in straight sets

·5 min read

Sep. 23—WESTWOOD — Graycin Price was honored for moving into second on Fairview's career kills list early in Thursday's match.

She came up with some bigger ones later on against Lawrence County.

Price produced a block, a kill and a set-ending ace in the Eagles' frenetic rally from down 23-21 in the second set to win it. and she came up with back-to-back kills after the Bulldogs tied the third set at 18-18 to set Fairview off on a 7-1 run to conclude that set and the match.

The Eagles thus finished off a 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-19) sweep of Lawrence County at George Cooke Memorial Gymnasium.

Fairview (14-5) won for the 12th time in 14 outings on Thursday night since a 2-3 start to the season — a stretch run that has coach Rick Lambert thinking the Eagles could make a run at the school record for wins they set last season, with 26.

"I think they had a bad taste in their mouth when they played Raceland in the All 'A,'" Lambert said of a first-round small-school loss to the Rams, "and they said, 'OK, enough's enough, and we're gonna start going off.' and they did."

That continued Thursday against a Lawrence County club with its first winning record at this point in program history, dating to 2002, save for the COVID-19-abbreviated 2020 season.

The Bulldogs found a series of runs to make sets competitive. Fairview started the first set on a 15-3 burst, which Lawrence County followed with an 11-3 spurt to get within four.

The Bulldogs rallied from 8-2 down in Set 3 to tie it at 18. and Lawrence County actually led 23-21 late in the second set.

But Fairview had enough to claim all three sets.

"We were a little late in all three of these sets to respond," Bulldogs coach Autumn Blevins said. "We did respond in bits and pieces, but we didn't bring it all together consecutively for a consistent amount of time. Hopefully we can bounce back from this and attack later on."

The Eagles delivered a critical hustle play to start their comeback late in the second set. Down 23-21, another point was going sideways for Fairview — literally — when the ball caromed high toward the scorer's table between the two benches.

But the Eagles' Lilly McGlone ran it down and sent it back into play with one fist. Price added a block later on the same point, which ended in a Lawrence County error.

Price supplied a kill on the next point, the Bulldogs committed another miscue and Price finished it off with an ace.

"We just had to try a lot harder and get the balls that we didn't think that we were gonna get," Price said, "and not do stupid mistakes and just get them in."

And chase down the ones they couldn't keep in.

"That was one of the best plays I've seen in a long time," Lambert said of McGlone's critical save. "It's like fish in an aquarium. You throw food in there, they're all gonna come, right? We have to pursue the ball.

"And I said, you guys literally ran out of the aquarium to get that one and brought it back and made a great play."

One that clearly shifted momentum. The Bulldogs went from being near a tied match to suddenly down 2-0.

"That was like taking candy away from a kid getting ready to swallow food right there," Lambert said. "That looked like it was done."

Lawrence County (10-8) mustered another charge in the third set to tie it at 18 on Sara Shannon's block for a point. But Price netted kills on consecutive points, Kameron Fry added another kill and the match ended when a Bulldogs shot carried too far.

Lawrence County was coming off a competitive loss to 15th Region power Floyd Central on Tuesday. Blevins hoped that experience would carry over to Thursday better than it did, she said.

"We have the ability; we have the offense," Blevins said. "We didn't play the same as what we did last (time out). A little disappointed with that, but I think we have a lot to go off of. ... These are the games that are gonna teach us to grow."

Price entered the match with 741 career kills — one behind Piper Figley. Record-holder Charlee Hobbs's mark is in the 1200s, Lambert said.

Price produced two kills within the first three points on Thursday. She had eight for the match in unofficial statistics.

"I know she doesn't like me to holler at her," Lambert said, glancing at Price, who stood nearby listening, "but I can still hear coach Cooke's voice in this gym hollering at me, and it made me want to play that much harder.

"I always tell her, go with your power. She's got a great serve. and she took it out. If you notice, her serves were harder right there. I said, 'If I gotta get you mad, I guess that's what it takes, but whatever.'"

Fry added seven kills, including four in the third set. Shelby Marcum chipped in five and Kiera Loving delivered four.

Loving also had four aces.

Ally Huffman netted seven kills for the Bulldogs. Timmy Ellis delivered four.

Fairview beat Lawrence County for the third time this season and the 23rd time in their last 24 meetings dating to 2013. The Eagles won for the 12th consecutive time against the Bulldogs in Westwood.