FULTON, Miss. — The Pearl River volleyball team turned in a stellar performance in Tuesday's sweep at Itawamba, winning 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-18).
"We went in with some key changes defensively and were able to slow down ICC's attacks," said coach Haley Chatham. "We stayed as simple as possible and made sure to give ourselves more chances to score points."
Pearl River (12-8 overall) took four of the first five points from Itawamba (12-6) to hold an early advantage, 4-1.
The teams traded blows with each other, with ICC eventually slicing into the Wildcat lead to make it just two points at 11-9.
The Wildcats rattled off seven straight points highlighted by a block and a kill from Avery Beth Durdin (Olive Branch; Lewisburg) to make the score 18-9.
ICC responded by going on a 7-2 run to trail by just four points, 20-16.
ICC gained momentum taking three straight points from Pearl River, but Tori Havens (Lucedale; George County) shut that down with a kill to win the set 25-19.
Pearl River never lost the lead in the first set.
In the second set, neither team was able to gain a large lead over the other.
Pearl River again held an early lead going ahead of Itawamba 4-1.
ICC went on a 5-1 run to take the lead right back at 6-5.
The teams continued to trade points tying 11 times throughout the duration of the set with the last tie coming at 19 points each.
Back-to-back aces by Willoughby gave PRCC the lead, 21-19.
The Wildcats took four of the last seven points thanks to a kill by Hannah Burks (Vancleave) and a tip over the net by Diamond Jones (Gonzales, La.; East Ascension) that was set up by Harleigh LaFontaine (Kiln; Hancock) to claim the second set 25-22.
The teams again battled through the first part of the match trading scores until Pearl River took a three point lead at 9-6.
ICC scored two straight points to cut the deficit to one, 9-8.
Back-to-back kills by Willoughby and Havens helped the Wildcats rattle off five straight points to go ahead 14-8.
Good things came in threes for the Wildcats throughout the rest of the match going on two separate runs of three. The first run was capped off by a Burks ace to make the score 20-13. The second run included two straight points from Draine on an ace and a kill making the score 23-15.
Draine secured the sweep with yet another kill ending the match at 25-18.
Chatham praised the play of her team after the match
"I'm so proud of these kids. When you get to see them commit to a clear path in reaching a goal, stay the course in a tough match and succeed. It doesn't get any better than that" Chatham said.
Pearl River will hit the road again on Wednesday to take on Northwest. The match will begin at 1 p.m.