By Kris Freeman for White House High School
WHITE HOUSE – Sophomore Izzy Parks served out the final two points of a thrilling five-set match that went to extra time Thursday as White House topped Greenbrier, 3-2.
The Lady Devils were behind 15-14 in the fifth and final set and fought off match point defensively before refocusing on the serve and winning the final two points of the match to capture a 17-15 conquest. The two teams split the other two sets of the match.
White House improved to 4-2 for the season and bounced back from an early week loss to Macon County.
“We are proud of the team as a whole tonight,” said White House coaches Dani Villafana and Kassie King. “Both the JV and the varsity came out focused and determined to get better from the loss against Macon County.
“After the Macon County game, our focus was that if you start to fight, you finish the fight and tonight we refused to give up. They fought for every point, but the best thing is they fought together as a team.”
White House won the first and third set, 25-20 and 25-21. Greenbrier won the second and fourth set, 25-22 and 25-20.
It was Greenbrier with an advantage in aces with 14-5, but White House dominated ball movement with 48 assists to the Lady Bobcats 27. The Lady Devils dug out an impressive 103 balls in the match, almost 30 more than the opponent. But 72 errors to Greenbrier’s 58 kept the match balanced.
Senior Ally Grace Sloan had 21 digs with Justine Lowe and Olivia Davidson each with 19, but junior All-District player Megan Thompson had 30 digs. Parks had 20 serve opportunities with a team-leading 90 percent serve percentage, and Davidson gadded 88.5 percent on 22 tries.
Lowe and Sloan had 11 kills each. Davidson had 26 assists and Sloan 16, and Lacey Escue had three blocks.
The JV team won the first match of the night, which set the tone for the evening. Playing without injured Khloe O’Neal, the team saw Davidson, a freshman, have to play the majority of both matches.
“Losing O’Neal to an injury for the JV team was tough because she is the captain,” King said. “So we asked Olivia to play both JV and varsity tonight and she excelled and brought a lot to both teams.”
“We wanted to progress each game and they achieved that tonight,” Villafana said. “The entire team was invested. Our middles (Lacey Escue and Caleigh Anderson) played hard and got a lot of touches to slow the ball down. They produced a lot of hits and saw the court well. The setters (Sloan and Davidson) worked hard and played great with all-around defense.”
The team continues to get contributions from a relatively young squad.
“Lowe and Parks provide momentum as hitters with some great kills and consistent defense on the back row,” Villafana added. “And Megan (Thompson) is the glue that holds our defense together and is a huge presence in coverage for our hitters.”
Greenbrier was led by great serving with 100 percent success rates from Kimber Merithew and Evelyn Suggs, who both had five aces. Ashley Marshall also had five aces and served at 90 percent.
Caroline Dalton had 13 kills and Carley Clinard seven, while Marshall added 26 assists and 11 digs. Merithew led the team with 18 digs.
It is a big week for White House next week as the Lady Devils travel to powerhouse Portland on Tuesday at 5 p.m. and then host White House Heritage Thursday at 5 p.m.
“There are a lot of great things from last night’s game as a team,” King said, “but our girls agree that there is still a lot of room for growth and they are ready to work.”