POPLARVILLE, Miss. — In Pearl River's very first competition as a junior college volleyball program, the Wildcats traveled to Southern Union State for an exhibition contest. PRCC took the first two sets, but SUS rallied to win in five.
The roles were nearly reversed Friday inside Shivers Gymnasium.
The Wildcats fell behind early, dropping the first two sets before digging deep to rally and force a fifth set.
Although PRCC ultimately lost 3-2 (25-17, 25-18, 21-25, 19-25, 16-14), the Wildcats showed plenty of fight to force just their second five-set match of the season.
The Wildcats (6-12 overall) seemed a bit discombobulated in the first two sets as they succumbed to several miscommunication errors.
Facing a sweep, PRCC regrouped in the third set. Madison Smith (Madison; Germantown) picked up two kills on PRCC's first four points to pull ahead 4-2. Isabella Thoennes (Kiln; Hancock) and slammed home a kill for the fifth point and then Maleah Austin (Diamondhead; Hancock) teamed up with Leah Draine (Mobile, Ala.; Mattie T. Blount) for a block to push PRCC's lead to 6-2. SUS (6-18) fought back, at one point taking five straight points to pull within two, 20-18. Staring down the possibility of a sweep, PRCC clamped down and took six of the final nine points — winning on a Madelyn Misita (Clinton) serve.
The fourth set was dominated at times by the Wildcats. PRCC jumped out 6-3 and although the Lady Bison ripped off five straight points to go ahead 14-11, PRCC quickly regrouped. The Wildcats responded with a massive nine-point run. Misita tied the set 14-14 on a cross-court kill. Harleigh Lafontaine (Kiln; Hancock) then sent a serve rattling off of two Lady Bison and down for a 15-14 advantage the home team didn't relinquish.
The fifth set was similar to the fourth. Draine blocked an attempt at the middle of the net to give PRCC a 6-3 lead. PRCC took three more straight points to build a 9-3 lead and force a SUS timeout. The two squads traded points down the stretch, but the Lady Bison took the final five points to escape Poplarville with the win.
Pearl River will play a road-heavy schedule for the remainder of the season. PRCC visits Panola College for matches Monday and Tuesday before returning to host Judson College at 6 p.m. Friday in the home finale.
The Wildcats finish out their debut season with the final four matches on the road.
HOW TO TUNE IN
All home events are broadcast on PRCCAthletics.com and PRCCMedia.com. Anyone who has an Amazon Fire or Roku device can stream PRCC broadcasts by downloading the "Pearl River CC" Channel from the app store.