NEW PARIS — The National Trail Lady Blazers pulled off a dramatic comeback down 2-0 on Senior Night to defeat Mississinawa Valley in five sets on Tuesday, Sept. 15.
After the Blazers took an early 10-6 lead in the first set, the Blackhawks came back to take a 12-11 lead, eventually taking the set 25-21.
In the second set, the teams remained close until Trail took control with a 24-19 lead. However, sitting at set point, the Blackhawks then scored the next seven points to stun the Blazers and win the set 26-24, putting Trail in an early hole.
From that point on, it was all National Trail.
The Blazers maintained a healthy lead in the third set, but the Blackhawks battling their way back with five straight points to make it 20-17 in favor of Trail. The Blazers fought to a 24-19 lead, and this time around, they didn’t let Mississinawa Valley linger, finishing the set 25-19 to make it 2-1.
“I think with all the seniors, we just have a lot of resolve and wouldn’t let the ball drop,” coach Joy Yeazel said. “A couple of them really just said, ‘I’m not gonna let this ball drop on me.’ That’s what you’ve got to have is that resolve that you’re going to put the ball down when you need to, and keep it up off your floor. So, they just did a really good job.”
The fourth set was equally as tough, with neither team establishing a significant lead until the Blazers scored four straight points up 21-20 to win the set 25-20.
For both teams, whether it be National Trail attempting a comeback on Senior Night or Mississinawa Valley trying not to let the 2-0 set lead they had slip away, the fifth set was the most hotly contested of the evening.
The Blazers got off to an 11-6 lead, needing only four points to win the set and the match, but the Blackhawks scored eight of the next 11 points to tie things up at 14.
Mississinawa Valley then scored another point to make it match point at 15-14, but Trail tied it up once again.
The Blackhawks scored again to make it 16-15, but the Blazers would rally for the next three points to win the set 18-16 and pull off the 3-2 comeback win.
“It’s a CCC match, so we really needed this win as we go to Franklin Monroe on Thursday,” Yeazel said. “That’s going to be a really tough match, so we’re going to have to improve our game even more.”
While Senior Nights nights normally come near the end of the season, Yeazel was happy to reflect on this senior class as they begin to look towards the back half of Trail’s season.
“They are really a great class,” she said. “I have Kaylee Michael, came from Eaton, and Paige Birdsall just came this year from Northmont. The others I’ve had since they were freshmen, and they just love the game and it shows. So, we’ve just got to continue to work and I think they’re getting smarter and smarter volleyball-wise. Looking forward to the end of the season.”
Four of Trail’s seniors – Tristan Bowers, Kayleigh Michael, Paige Birdsall and Jaidyn Tout – combined for 38 kills, led by Bowers with 17.
Michael had 18 digs and junior Mykenzie Smith had 17 digs. Bowers added four aces and Tout had two aces while freshman Addison Sparks added two aces.
Senior Angel Bowers had 21 assists for the Blazers and 16 digs, followed closely by freshman Kynzie Everman with 15 assists.
Birdsall, Michael, Tristan and junior J’da Jackson each had one block
The Blazers dropped a 3-0 match to Franklin Monroe on Thursday, Sept. 17 and played at home against Bradford on Tuesday, Sept. 22.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles