XENIA — With her team’s collective backs up against the proverbial wall, trailing host Legacy Christian two sets to none in the best-of-three format, Xenia Coach Jessica Threats did what any coach would do.
“We changed everything!” she laughed, moments after Monday night’s exciting 18-25, 20-25, 25-22, 25-17, 15-3 road win over the host Knights. “We seemed to be playing tentatively in those opening sets, and so I changed the whole lineup. This team has had its share of injuries this season, and so we have a lot of new rotations that we’re still working on. With all the injuries we’ve had, we’ve made a lot of adjustments.”
As Threats continued to tweak the lineup throughout the match, the Buccaneers began to show signs of coming around as well. Heidi Alex finished the match with 15 kills, seven service aces and a block, Camille Hughes had a match-best five blocks to go along with five kills, Macy Caupp finished with five aces and a trio of kills. and Skylar Throup had six kills, a pair of aces and a block.
“I think we did a good job of adjusting the way we played, especially in that third set when we finally got a win,” Threats said. “We started hitting around their blocks, or tipping the ball over them. It seemed to hurt Legacy’s timing, I think.”
After walloping a combined 14 Knights kills in the opening two sets, Legacy was limited to nine the rest of the way. In the final two sets, the Knights had three.
The loss spoiled LCA’s Senior Night festivities as well. The Knights’ four seniors are Renee Fear, Savannah Surls, Sammie Lomelin and Rylanne Burdette. Fear led Legacy Christian with seven kills and a block, while fellow senior Surls and Layne Burke both finished with four kills and two service aces.
“In the third set, they had one really good server who put us on our heels. Then after that, they started tipping the ball over our blocks, and we couldn’t recover from that,” LCA coach Amy Perkins said. “
Xenia’s Bailey Oliver smacked back-to-back service aces to rally the Bucs from a 13-14 deficit to a 15-14 lead. Xenia never trailed again in that third set, and went on to a 25-22 win to keep the team’s hopes alive.
Perkins said her four seniors mean a lot to the Knights team.
“They’re absolutely amazing. They’re leaders. They’ve given themselves to me, whether it’s working with other teammates or trying to pick the rest of the team up. They mean a lot to me. I would be lost without those four girls,” Perkins said.
Xenia (6-9) snapped a five-match losing streak with Monday night’s rally over the Knights. The Bucs are back in action at 7 p.m. Tuesday night when they head north to take on Greater Western Ohio Conference North foe Troy.
Legacy Christian is now 2-11 overall. The Knights have a couple days of practice before hosting Dayton Christian for a 6 p.m. Metro Buckeye Conference match on Thursday, Sept. 27.
“I told the girls it’s up to them. Whether they think they can — or can’t — battle back from this loss, they’re right,” Perkins said. “How we handle this loss is entirely up to them.”
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.