Sep. 21—TIFTON — Lowndes was the big winner Monday evening in a tri-meet of volleyball teams. Tift County hosted Lowndes and Camden County in the Region 1-7A showdown and the Vikettes won both matches. Tift went 1-1, defeating Camden County.
Lowndes swept Camden in the middle match, then defeated Tift in three sets in the finale. A massive comeback led Lowndes to a 26-24 first set win, Tift won the second 27-25 before the Vikettes captured the win, 15-11. To start the day, Tift dropped a 25-19 set to Camden, then came back for 25-21 and 15-7 sets.
Both Tift and Lowndes fought back from deficits in the first two sets of their match.
Following an ace from Laurie Walters, the Lady Devils were in the driver's seat with a 24-12 score. The Vikettes, however, put together an almost improbable comeback, winning 14 straight points.
Lowndes did it with serving. Morgan Hamm delivered four aces during the run. Combined with multiple kills from Kaylan McConnehead and Otaifo Esenabhalu, the Vikettes controlled the net.
The Vikettes leapt out to a 5-1 advantage in the second set, but a short serve returned control to Tift, which began working its way back in. Shakiria Chaney dazzled the crowd with a backwards somersault dig before coming up with the kill to get her team closer at 5-3. One serve later, Chaney blocked Lowndes and made it 5-4.
Lowndes had another brief run in the second set, going up 14-9. Another short serve returned the ball to the Lady Devils and this time they did more than hang around.
Lexie Lane put Tift in good hands with accurate serving and her teammates forced Lowndes into situations where they could not make returns. A Vikette point briefly kept them in the lead at 15-13, but two serves later saw the contest tied up at 15-15.
A Chaney kill and Raegin Walker ace made it 18-15, Tift. Lowndes fought back to go ahead 19-18 on a kill by Esenabhalu, but both squads had problems aiming their returns.
Tift was up 22-20, then Lowndes went ahead 24-22.
Kylei Cutts and Jalaya Miller had points for the Lady Devils to pull even at 24-all. The tie at 24 meant that one team had to win two consecutive points to take the set.
It was Tift to go up 25-24, then Lowndes tied. Miller made it 26-25 for the hosts, who then clinched the set when a return went out of bounds.
The third set was second faced by Tift on Monday. This one did not work out as well as that against Camden.
Walker had a kill and Lane an ace for a brief 3-0 lead for Tift. Walker's knuckleball on a return soon made it 4-1 but the Vikettes came storming back.
The Lady Devils' last lead was at 8-7. McConnehead served three straight aces for the Vikettes to surge, 10-8. She went on to score the final point of the match to make a massive day for Lowndes.
TIFT 2, CAMDEN 1
Camden broke a 19-19 tie with a run of six straight to close out the first set against Tift.
The Lady Wildcats had been ahead most of the way, starting from their 2-0 opening.
Set No. 2 started similarly to how the first ended, Camden going up 4-1. Not much went right for them afterwards.
Down 5-2, Tift got the ball after a serve went out. Two straight kills from Sky McCrae helped put them ahead 7-5. After some back-and-forth action that saw Camden still ahead 11-9, the Lady Devils took over.
Walker scored twice. McCrae served an ace and suddenly it was 14-11 for Tift.
Walters had a diving kill to start a fresh surge and a spikes from Chaney helped put it nearly out of reach at 23-17. Camden got close at 24-21, but could not advance further, allowing Tift to force a third set.
The Lady 'Cats marched out to a 3-0 lead in the final set, but Tift did not let it stick.
Chaney had a spike, Lane had three consecutive aces to turn the score around at 9-4. Walters had another ace before Miller finished off the visitors from Kingsland.
The Lady Devils are to host Highland Christian and Ware County Tuesday. Their next region matches are Saturday against Colquitt County and Camden.
Lowndes is the current 1-7A leader at 5-0. Tift is second at 3-3, Camden is third at 1-3, with Colquitt in fourth.