The first two sets of Friday’s volleyball match between Millers Creek Christian School and Triad Baptist Christian Academy couldn’t have been much closer.
The next two were also similar images of one another, but not as close.
Since the two squads split the first four sets, a winner-take all fifth set was necessary and the Lions pulled away late to capture a 3-2 win inside Bumgarner Gym on the campus of Wilkes Community College.
Millers Creek took the second (25-21) and fourth sets (25-12) while the Titans were victorious in the first (25-23) and third sets (25-14).
The two teams were tight early in the decisive fifth set but the Lions took the lead 9-7 with a Caroline Watkins kill.
Millers Creek, which improved to 3-1 overall and 3-0 in Central Carolina Conference play, did not trail the remainder of the set. Lily Church’s ace made it 13-11 and the Lions clinched the set, and the match, 15-12 with an ace from Watkins.
The lead bounced back and forth between the two teams in the opening set. Millers Creek led 22-19 but Triad battled back and ran off the next five points to take the lead and went on to take the set 25-23.
Triad (1-3, 0-1) stormed out to an 11-4 lead in the second set but a Lauren Jarvis ace capped off six-straight points for the Lions to cut the deficit to one.
The set remained tight, tied as late as 21-21, but a strong performance by Watkins helped the Lions tie the match at 1-1. The freshman used a pair of kills and a pair of aces to earn a 25-21 win.
After Triad kept the lead around double-digits for the majority of the third set, Millers Creek responded with solid serving in the fourth set.
Back-to-back aces from Cameron Evans helped the Lions score the first five points. Evans picked up a big block at the net, extending the lead to 15-5.
Strong serving from Emily Church, which included a trio of aces, stretched the advantage to 21-5.
The Titans got as close as 22-12 but Watkins and Evans closed out the set, and tied the match at 2-2, with a kill and an ace, respectively.
The Lions will be off until Friday when they travel to Winston-Salem Christian while the Titans returned to the court on Monday against Westover Christian Academy. They will host Winston-Salem Christian today at 4:30 p.m.