Lady Hornets get handle on Holden in comeback

Ryan Boland

With experience and a home-court advantage, the possibility of the Fulton Lady Hornets volleyball team coming out exhibiting any sort of nerves might seem odd. But that’s exactly what happened.

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Facing the Holden Lady Eagles in the Class 3 sectionals Saturday afternoon at Roger D. Davis Gymnasium, Fulton left little to be desired on the court and their coach baffled at the output after an opening-game loss.

“It was odd; I expected them to go out there with that experience and use that to their advantage, but it took them a whole game-and-a-half to get that back,” Lady Hornets head coach Megan Herrick said.

But Herrick’s team bounced back in the ensuing two games, downing Holden 13-25, 25-22 and 25-22 to advance to the state quarterfinals for the first time in school history. Fulton (28-8) faced the winner of the second sectional between Logan-Rogersville (30-3-3-) and Carl Junction (22-9-4) on Saturday night for a chance to advance to the final four next Friday and Saturday in Kansas City.

Results from Saturday night’s quarterfinal match were not available at press time. See Tuesday’s edition of The Fulton Sun for complete coverage.

Holden (29-7-2) took a 2-1 lead over the Lady Hornets in Saturday’s first game 2-1 and never relinquished it, riding to a resounding victory. Herrick was well aware of the Lady Eagles’ team speed, which allowed Holden to come up with responding volleys to any and all Fulton kill attempts.

“It was hard to find holes, and then when we found holes, it didn’t really matter because they were scrappy enough to pick it back up and do something with it,” Herrick said. “There were times where their speed was a little too much for our girls, but luckily we can be pretty scrappy ourselves.”

Holden continued to get to the ball, but Fulton started to figure out ways to counteract that midway through the second game. Aside from Lady Hornets’ 24-20 advantage in the third contest, neither team led by more than two points during the last two games.

“The girls just kind of woke up and realized that this could be our last opportunity to play this season,” Herrick said. “So I think they started to realize how important each play was and each contact was, and started looking at the small picture and the little, bitty things they could do, and rather than the big picture of it being sectionals.”

The Fulton offense also finally got a rhythm going, having an answer every time it seemed like Holden wanted to seize the momentum. Senior outside hitter Haley Clark topped the Lady Hornets with 20 kills in three games, while sophomore setter Melissa Hoerber provided team-highs of 32 assists and 10 digs.

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