STILLWATER – After dropping the first two games of Friday’s Section II Class D volleyball championship match to Waterford, the Mayfield Lady Panthers dug in for an amazing run.
After dropping the opening games 25-21 and 25-16 the Lady Panthers stormed back to win the third game 25-20 and built on the momentum to tie the match at two games apiece with a 25-16 victory to send the title match to a fifth and deciding game.
The Lady Panthers rolled out to a quick 6-3 advantage over the top-seeded Fordians before falling back 13-9 at the switch.
Waterford took the Lady Panthers to match point, 24-18 before Mayfield made one last big run at the Fordians.
With sophomore Bri Eagan serving, the Lady Panthers rallied back behind kills from Kaylee Bumpus and Jordan Marshall as well as an ace from Eagan to bring the rally to 24-23.
Eagan put her service in play, hitting the tape on top of the net and rolling along it before falling on the Panthers’ side of the net giving Waterford a 25-23 victory and the Class D championship.
“They hung in there and came back. They left it all on the court. It just wasn’t our day,” Mayfield coach Eileen Rovito said. “We just needed one little roll and it probably would have been our game. But it didn’t happen.”
In the pivotal third game, Mayfield got an early boost from a service run by Bailey Ward, followed by two more from Bri Eagan and Bumpus. Waterford fought back with a four-point, two-ace run by Carly Howe to take a 15-14 advantage.
Bumpus got the Lady Panthers back on track with her four-point run to go with a pair of kills from Ward to gain a 21-18 edge before closing out the 25-20 win.
The momentum carried over into game four and the Lady Panthers defense kept the Fordians from stringing service runs together and effectively shut down the hitting lanes at the net to help close out the fourth game on a five-point run from Mackenzie Biggers for the 25-16 win.
The momentum swung back-and-forth in the fifth game with both teams pulling ahead but unable to maintain the advantage.
However, with their backs against the wall, the Lady Panthers clawed back to come within inches of upsetting the top-seeded Fordians.
For the match, Jordan Marshall finished with nine kills, nine service points, five digs, three blocks and two assists. Bumpus had 11 kills, eight points and a block, while Ward contributed 11 kills, three assists, two blocks and six service points.
Miranda Eagan contributed five kills, five blocks, five service points, four aces and 10 assists to the Lady Panthers attack, while Biggers had 28 assists, nine points and five digs and Kiera Davis added four digs and three points.
“We are a young team and I was concerned how they would react in sectionals,” Rovito said. “They did just fine especially with our seniors stepping up.”
Mayfield finishes the season with a 15-4 record, while Waterford improves to 16-2.