ELWOOD – If anyone was looking for hardcore evidence volleyball is a sport where momentum rules, just ask the Elwood Panthers for a video copy from Thursday’s senior night match against Madison-Grant.
It might be best not to ask the Argylls.
The Panthers honored six seniors who were playing their final match on the home court. But nobody could have foreseen the dips and twists in this match. Neither team could win successive sets.
Elwood triumphed in the opener 25-20. Madison-Grant won the set that refused to end 29-27 after trailing 24-21. But the visitors gained no lasting momentum from that victory as Elwood won the third set 25-14. The fourth set was a blowout.
M-G sophomore Gabrielle Rudy served 15 straight points, notching seven aces in that run, and the Argylls forced a final set with a 25-7 victory.
It would seem logical after a big win of that fashion the wind might have been gone from the home team’s sails. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
“I didn’t really say very much to them,” said Elwood coach Lindsay Durm. “I did tell them if they won the (coin) flip to take return of service. If there’s one thing Madison-Grant almost always does near perfect it is serve.”
But the Argylls gave away the first point on a hitting error.
From a 2-2 deadlock, a kill by Elwood sophomore Jaleigh Crawford put the ball in her hands to serve. Whenever she has her hands on the ball, good things happen. She served six straight points, punctuated along the way by kills from Morgan Scott and Hannah Everson along with a tip by Kelsey Ruder.
When that streak ended, it was 9-2, and the Argylls got no closer than six the rest of the match.
“I have never beaten Madison-Grant,” said Durm. “Not since I have been here (four years) or when I was the JV coach at Oak Hill. We got a really bad draw in the sectional, but this win is going to make it a lot more fun to prepare for next week.”
Crawford was just a monster at the net all night. For the match, she had 21 kills and three blocks. One of those blocks came in the third set after three straight times the Argylls tried to hit it past her and failed all three times.
The Argylls will regroup as they host a sectional next week. They don’t play until Oct. 19 in the tournament.