COVINGTON - It was a classic struggle as Newton and Alcovy's volleyball squads took the court Tuesday.
But in the end, the Lady Rams took the match in three games after Alcovy rallied to tie the match at one game apiece.
Newton won the first game 25-19 before the Lady Tigers scored the final two points of the second game for the 27-25 win. In the third game, Newton's Salina Xiong set the tone with six aces in her first eight serves as the Lady Rams won the match with a 25-16 win.
However, nether squad was able to pull out a win against Morgan County.
"They went after every ball. They really, really hustled. I'm sad that they lost but I'm not upset at my team because I think they did a lot of these well. We also changed our starting lineup so they were getting used to that," Newton coach Shandelyn Carter said. "Since we started in August, they've progressed tremendously. I couldn't have asked for a better team."
The Lady Bulldogs beat Newton 26-24, 21-25, 25-18 before beating Alcovy 25-19, 24-26, 25-22.
In the Newton-Alcovy first game, the Lady Rams jumped out to a commanding 15-1 lead before Alcovy came back with a vengeance.
Alcovy closed the gap to 19-15 when Holly Oakes served for seven straight points.
Prior to her serving, Oakes broke Newton's serve with one of her four kills against Newton.
However, Alcovy was unable to take the lead as Kayla Bunch served the final three points, including an ace, before Joy Pollock crushed the ball for the game-winning kill.
The Lady Tigers settled down in the second game keeping the lead until late in the game.
Newton, which trailed by as many as eight points, tied the game at 24 each.
The Lady Rams took a 25-24 lead when Alcovy put the return into the net. But Newton allowed Alcovy to tie the game when its serve never made it over the net.
The Lady Tigers' Malaceo Ivey put her team in the lead with a kill before Alcovy got the win.
In the third game, Xiong had six aces while Bunch had two kills to give the Lady Rams an 8-0 lead.
Once behind, Alcovy was unable to battle back as Newton kept the pressure on for the win.
"I think it's probably the best teamwork I've seen out of my girls in about the last two weeks. We took a couple of hard beatings the last couple of weeks and it's hard to get our self esteem back but we're getting there," Alcovy coach Amanda Briggs said. "What I've really stressed with them is not so much winning but being competitive. We showed that we can hang in there. That's one of our first goals. Because if we could be competitive then the wins will start happening."
Xiong led all players in the first match with eight aces while both Newton's April Lo and Alcovy's Leah Anderson had four kills.
Oakes paced the Lady Tigers with four aces while Pollock and Bunch had four kills apiece.
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com.