GRAYSON East Carter used a 15-4 run to force a fifth game on Thursday night and got really excited about it.
As several Lady Raiders danced to "Cotton Eye Joe" blaring over the loudspeakers during the break between the fourth and fifth games at Harold L. Holbrook Athletic Complex East, Rick Lambert took a moment to let the Lady Eagles soak up the atmosphere.
"I told ‘em, they’re dancing on you over there," Fairview’s coach said. "As a former athlete many years ago, that would’ve made me really mad. But that’s OK. That just said that they were confident and they were trying to keep the momentum."
The Lady Eagles, though, won the coin toss to serve first in the fifth game and grabbed a 5-1 lead. Fairview held it to secure a 3-2 (18-25, 25-22, 25-19, 16-25, 15-9) victory at East Carter on Thursday night.
The Lady Eagles chose to serve first in the fifth game to not only put themselves in good scoring position, but to stay away what Lambert called the "hammer serve" of Lady Raiders junior Madison Gollihue.
Gollihue served for six of East Carter’s 17 aces in the match, including four in the first game.
"I told them if we got the flip, we wanted to go with serve, because we don’t want her hitting seven or eight points on us and getting in a hole," Lambert said of Gollihue, "and we know (Fairview’s) Graycin (Price) is a great server also. That little initial lead there definitely helped."
Price served for two aces within the first three points of the fifth game, and Natalie Tackett added another moments later to give the Lady Eagles a 5-1 lead.
The Lady Raiders never got even again.
"We struggle with a dead ball and getting our focus back," first-year East Carter coach Jennifer Clark said. "We do better keeping the momentum. That’s really what we’re struggling with."
Tackett and Charlee Hobbs each had 10 kills for Fairview (4-4). They complement each other well, Lambert said — Tackett with touch and finesse to find holes in opponents’ defenses, and Hobbs with power.
"You win championships in the front left," Lambert said. "Even if (opponents) know it’s coming, you can get a good set and hammer it. I try to tell them every time Charlee comes to the front, as she’s coming across that line ... we gotta score five points. That’s gotta happen."
Hobbs also registered six aces and 20 digs. Price had four aces and 36 digs, libero Kameron Fry notched 48 digs, and Shelby Marcum produced 25 digs. Kiera Loving dished 23 assists.
East Carter (1-1), playing its first home match under someone other than retired veteran coach Cathy Harris since the first year of the program in 2000, won the first game by closing on a 5-0 run — three of which were Gollihue aces.
Fairview took Game 2, securing it with a Tackett tip for a point, and won the third set on a Hobbs kill.
The Lady Raiders scored 15 of the last 19 points of the fourth frame to tie the match again. Kileigh Boggs’ ace on a jump serve closed the run.
Clark liked East Carter’s response to being down 2-1.
"They were happy to be here," Clark said of the Lady Raiders. "They were having fun. Ultimately, we were trying to win that game, but it just didn’t work out in our favor tonight. But I think that’s gonna change. I think our hustle and our positivity are gonna take us really far."
Jascie Greene paced East Carter offensively with 13 kills in unofficial statistics. Alyssa Navarre notched 11. Kendra Hall served for four aces.
"She sees things, not only because of her stature," Clark said of Greene, chuckling while using her hands to indicate the junior hitter’s height, "but because she is a leader. The girls really look up to her and really take what she says to heart."
Fairview’s emotions, though, reached a rolling boil in the fifth game, following the lead of its coach.
"I felt like I wanted to get in there and play myself," Lambert said. "I was on the sideline probably looking like a crazy wild man, but that’s just the intensity I try to bring, and I think they matched that intensity."
The Lady Eagles ended a four-match losing skid in the series dating to 2016. They host East Carter in Westwood on Sept. 23.
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