POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The third time was not the charm for Judson College on Thursday as Pearl River swept the visitors 3-0 (25-17, 25-15, 25-18) at Shivers Gymnasium.
The sweep marks the third time this season PRCC (7-14 overall) has swept JC.
The victory was a nice punctuation to the Wildcats' home schedule.
Although JC took the first point of the first set, back-to-back kills by Isabella Thoennes (Kiln; Hancock) put PRCC back ahead 4-2. Judson College tied the game at 8-8, but the Wildcats ripped off 9 of 11 to jump ahead 17-10. There was no looking back for PRCC from that point on as the visitors never got within five the rest of the way.
PRCC's strong finish was aided by a pair of Maleah Austin (Diamondhead; Hancock) aces and then Willis closed it out when she shoveled an attack over the defense, masterfully picking the back left corner.
Pearl River jumped on Judson College early in the second set. Madison Smith (Madison; Germantown) picked up two early kills for a 2-1 advantage and before long the Wildcats led 7-3.
JC rallied ahead 8-7 but the Wildcats returned the streak, taking 8 of 9. Austin picked up a kill off of a JC defender to tie the game at 8 and then Thoennes sent another kill off of a defender. Austin followed Thoennes' kill up with an ace for the 11-8 advantage.
PRCC's run forced JC to take a timeout trailing 15-9. Although the visitors took the next two points, the Wildcats claimed 10 of the final 14 — earning the win on a long attempt by JC.
The third set was the closest of the night between PRCC and JC. Both teams traded points early on with the Wildcats edging ahead 9-5 on a tandem block from Leah Draine (Mobile, Ala.; Mattie T. Blount) and Willis.
A Misita kill just inside the back corner pushed PRCC back ahead 14-9.
The two teams traded points until a Draine kill put PRCC ahead 22-18. The Wildcats pulled away from there, taking the next three points to seal the sweep.
The Wildcats have four remaining matches on their inaugural schedule. PRCC will visit Coastal Alabama-East at 3 p.m. Saturday and then turn around two hours later to face Bevill State.
The Wildcats visit Louisiana College at 7 p.m. on Oct. 23 and then close out their first season Oct. 29 at Bevill State.