All signs pointed toward a decisive third set between Dadeville and Central Coosa volleyball Wednesday.
After dropping the first set in close fashion, the Cougars leapt out to a 10-2 lead to start game two thanks to a trio of aces from seniors Raamiah Gaddis and Brynli Mitchell.
Then Tess McKinley took over service duties for the Tigers.
From there Dadeville rattled off a 15-point rally, turning the 10-2 deficit to a 17-10 advantage it held on to for a 25-21 set victory to seal up victory in the match despite a strong senior-night effort from Coosa’s fourth years.
“I think we were a little slow at the beginning at setting up bump, set, spike,” Dadeville coach Vicky McDonald said. “But this team can play, and that second game especially, once we got a little momentum going, I saw a lot of bump, set, spike. I like that volleyball. I like making plays, not just bumping it back and forth and committing errors, stuff like that.”
McKinley collected three aces during the exchange.
Those were far from her only contributions in the best-of-three-set match. McKinley served as the anchor to the Tigers’ back row, digging up opposing attacks and passing to teammates to set up their own.
McKinley provided clean swings when called upon to hit too, recording one key kill with her back to the net later in the second set to push the lead back to 19-16.
“Tess has got an awesome serve, I can always count on her,” McDonald said. “Of course it brought us back out the hole and we were able to keep it up up front the rest of the game.”
Middle blocker Layla Grace played her usual key role for Dadeville, collecting a bevy of blocks and kills playing above the net in the front row. At times she’d rotate into the back line, allowing Daja Caldwell to see some action front and center.
Natori Giles collected a few kills of her own from the outside.
The service game is where Coosa did much of its damage. Even serves that didn’t go down as aces forced errant passes and prevented free balls for the Tigers’ attack.
The Cougars held a lead for the majority of the first set, with senior middle blocker Tori Davis collecting the first two of what was at least six kills for her in the match.
A string of Dadeville errors gave Coosa an early 8-5 lead. That edge swung between one and three points until a four-point rally by the Tigers gave them an 18-17 advantage. Once the Cougars tied the set again at 19-19, Dadeville finished the game on an extended 6-2 rally.
Dadeville hits the road Thursday for an area game at Beulah. Coosa welcomes Winterboro Saturday.