CONYERS - The Heritage volleyball team is no longer undefeated in Area 8-AAAA.
The Lady Patriots (9-12 overall, 5-1 in Area 8-AAAA) had leads in both the first and third games against area foe Monroe Area on Tuesday night.
However, Heritage let both games slip away, allowing the Lady Purple Hurricanes to claim a 26-24, 18-25, 25-22 victory. Monroe Area (17-2 overall) now leads Area 8-AAAA with a 7-0 record.
The Lady Patriots are second at 5-1, which means Tuesday's clash at Rockdale could decide second place in Area 8-AAAA. The team that finishes second avoids a play-in game in the area tournament.
In the first game, Heritage held a 23-20 lead only to see Monroe Area rally. The Lady Purple Hurricanes outscored the Lady Patriots 6-1 at the end to claim the opening game.
Heritage came out strong in the second game, opening up a 9-1 lead thanks to a Taylor Bailey kill, a Mikayla Charles kill and a Mikala Flonnoy block.
The Lady Patriots got three kills from Bailey and stretched the lead to 20-9.
Late in the game, Monroe Area rallied with four straight points to close its deficit to 23-18.
But Heritage tied the match at 1-1 after kills by Charles and Olivia Wasdin closed out the second game for a 25-18 win.
In the third game, the Patriots once again came out strong, opening up an early 5-1 advantage on a Bailey kill.
Flonnoy's ace helped Heritage stretch its lead to 9-4.
But Monroe Area rallied by claiming seven of the next nine points to tie the match at 11.
The Lady Patriots responded with two kills by Charles and an ace from Bailey to open up a 17-13 advantage.
But once again the Lady Purple Hurricanes rallied with four straight points to tie the match.
Monroe Area claimed eight of the final 13 points to win the final game 25-22 and claim the match and sole possession of first place in Area 8-AAAA.
Jeff Gillespie can be reached at email@example.com.