YORK — Senior mainstay Nora Childers made her presence felt in a huge way in the Oct. 24 season-ending match against rival Clover, staking the York Comprehensive High School volleyball team to its first win of the season.
The Lady Cougars prevailed in a grueling match, 10-25, 17-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-7. The win touched off a spontaneous celebration among players, coaches and fans in the YCHS gym.
Mobbed by jubilant fans and well-wishers in the post-match scene, Lady Cougar head coach Julie McGee was upbeat and emotional.
“It was a great win,” she said. “Our kids deserved it, especially the seniors.”
McGee said she asked the players the previous Tuesday if they had a goal, to which they replied, “We want to win our final match.”
The visiting Lady Blue Eagles were dominant in the first set, building an early lead en route to a 25-10 win. Though host York lost the second set 25-17, the YCHS girls showed signs of making a run before it was all said and done.
Senior floor leaders Mattie Ballard and Morgan Kuczler got in on the action, Ballard with a spike and a 2-0 York lead and Kuczler with a kill that pushed the home team’s lead to 6-3.
Carrie Lee Lancaster’s spike extended the lead to 7-3. Later, with Clover leading 10-9, Childers’ kill knotted the score at 10-all.
But the CHS girls were equal to the challenge the remainder of the set, winning by eight points.
The Lady Cougars came out aggressive to start the third set, building the lead to 5-1 on senior Brooke Andrews’ well-timed kill.
After Clover closed the gap, York spurted again, with Childers’ spike pushing the Lady Cougars ahead 17-13.
Later in the action, Taylr Sharp’s kill made the score 19-16. Moments later, consecutive spikes by Chelsea Love and Childers put York up 21-17.
The Lady Cougars held on down the stretch, keyed by Love’s reject at the net and Ballard’s set-ending spike for a 25-20 win.
The fourth set was closely contested. Clover started out strong but York got back in it, with Lancaster’s kill and Kuczler’s serving ace slicing the Clover lead to a single point.
The Lady Cougars kept pace, with Sharp’s spike sandwiched between kills recorded by teammates Andrews and Lancaster.
The game came down to the final stretch, with Clover leading 23-22 and positioning itself to win the match. But the Lady Cougars assumed a 24-23 lead on consecutive spikes by Lancaster and Childers.
York scored the final point for a 25-23 win, necessitating a fifth set that was played to 15 points instead of 25.
Sharp led a Lady Cougar surge to start the final set, delivering three spikes in a 7-1 run.
Later, after the CHS girls pulled to within three points at 8-5, consecutive game-changing kills by Sharp and Lancaster stretched the lead to 10-5 and the Lady Cougars coasted to a 15-7 match-clinching win.
McGee said the crowd-pleasing win was reminiscent of the final win to close out the 2009 season.
“We played Clover in the final match played in the dome and won in five sets like we did tonight,” she said. “Our kids fought back for the win. I am so proud of them.”
Fighting back tears after the dramatic win, Childers tried to put it into perspective.
“It feels great,” she said. “Everybody contributed. We were all together. It’s sad knowing it was my last time to complete.”