0903towlesAUDLakeview Academy coach Karen Towles talks about her team's wins.
In their first home match of the year, the Lady Lions of Lakeview Academy shined.
Matched up with an area opponent in Jefferson, and a regional opponent in Gainesville, the Lady Lions (5-4, 2-2 Area 8-A/AA) won both matches in two games, sweeping Tuesday night’s tri-match at Walters Athletic Center.
“I was very proud of the girls tonight,” Lakeview Academy coach Karen Towles said. “They showed a lot of character and a lot of heart tonight.
“It’s our first home match of the year, and I know there were a lot of emotions, and a lot of energy they wanted to get out,” she added. “They contained it well and put forth a good effort out there.”
After beating Jefferson (7-5, 2-0) in the first match 2-0 (25-17, 25-17), the effort was culminated by back-to-back wins (25-14, 25-18) against Gainesville. Those two wins were even more impressive because the middle match between Gainesville (2-7) and Jefferson went three games, and the Lady Lions had to wait more than an hour and a half between their two matches.
“I hate it when the middle game goes three because there’s a concern whether our energy level will drop,” Towles said.
“It did a little bit, but we were able to pick it back up against Gainesville.”
That was in large part because of the play of seniors Emilie Norton and Heather Styles, as well as juniors Megan Rochester and Jackie Burleson, who combined for 10 assists, 11 kills, four digs and two aces against Gainesville. The final assist and kill (from Norton to Rochester) finished off the Lady Red Elephants and gave Lakeview Academy a 25-18 win.
The dominant performance by the Lady Lions overshadowed the efforts of Gainesville’s Taylor Ricketts and Kiki Thompson, who accounted for 20 digs and five kills against Lakeview Academy.
Ricketts and Thompson did lead their team to one win on the night, a 26-24 outcome against Jefferson in Game 1 of the two teams’ three-game match.
While statistically the two carried the Lady Red Elephants in Game 1, it was the serving of sophomore Kate Callahan that provided Gainesville with a large lead.
Ahead by four points, Callahan’s serves led to numerous unforced errors by Jefferson which helped Gainesville reel off seven straight points and build an 11-point lead.
Not to be outdone, Jefferson’s Stephanie Fincher led the Lady Dragons on a 11-point run of their own, that included three aces from the junior outside hitter.
“She’s served well for us all year,” Jefferson coach Mike Paul said. “Any time you get three or four points in a row, let alone that many, is huge.”
Unfortunately for Fincher and the Lady Dragons, that scoring barrage was not enough, as the fell to Gainesville by two points.
But that would be all the glory that Gainesville would have, as Jefferson reeled off convincing back-to-back wins to take the match 2-1 (24-26, 25-15, 25-18).
“We’re still young, and for us to come back and win those two games was huge,” Paul said. “Any thing we can do positive is a good thing for us.”
Lakeview Academy plays host to North Hall and Athens Christian at 5 p.m. today. Jefferson travels to West Hall at 6 p.m. Thursday to take on the Lady Spartans and the Lady Wolves of Buford. Gainesville travels to Madison County at 5 p.m. Thursday to take on Rockdale and Madison County.