By BOB EAK
SOUTHWICK – South Hadley traveled to Southwick Tuesday afternoon for a high school girls volleyball matchup and came back from a 2-1 deficit to win the match 25-18, 10-25, 24-26, 25-19, 15-9.
The host Rams prevailed in the opener that was highlighted by five lead changes.
Southwick took the lead on the opening serve and held on to it until South Hadley tied it at 8 and then took the lead at 9-8. The lead went back and forth until South Hadley took it for good at 16-15. The Tigers finished off the Rams in the first set 25-18.
The second set was all Rams.
Southwick scored on the opening rally and never looked back, winning the set 25-10. The Rams never trailed in the second frame, which included three aces each from Alexandra Methe and Gillian Bourque. Lina Carr also contributed an ace.
The limited Southwick fans were treated to a thrilling third set.
Both teams traded points until Southwick took the lead 3-2. With the help of aces by Methe and Sarah Cerone, the Rams held the lead until the Tigers tied the game at 17-17.
Both teams exhibited great play in the set. South Hadley overtook South Hadley 19-18 and held a slim lead to the point of needing only one point to win at 24-20. The Rams mounted a comeback and tied the score at 24.
Southwick won the next two points to take the set 26-24 and led the match 2-1.
Southwick went into the fourth set determined to close out South Hadley, but the Tigers had other plans. They scored the first 4 points to take a quick lead.
Southwick responded with four points of their own to tie the set 4-4. South Hadley went on a 9-1 run to open a 13-5 lead with the help of three aces. The Rams went on a 6-1 run of their own to close the gap at 14-11. The Tigers securely held the lead the rest of the way to win the set 25-19, forcing a winner-take-all fifth set.
The visiting Tigers took the lead early in the final frame and never looked back, winning 15-9, and taking the match 3-2.
Southwick was led by senior captain Kayla Andrade, who collected two kills, 14 assists and eight digs. Alexandra Methe contributed 29 digs. Gillian Bourque had six digs, five kills, and five aces. Senior Sarah Cerone provided 10 kills and four digs. Kaitlyn Haseltine recorded five kills and 13 assists.