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ST. ELMO – When the Lady Rams had control of the serve, they looked pretty good.
But when they didn’t, it was a different story.
Cowden-Herrick kept the Lady Rams off of the service line in the first and third sets of its 25-16, 16-25, 15-8 victory in the first game of the second day of the Egyptian-Illini Conference Tournament at St. Elmo High School.
In the second set, the Lady Rams (6-11) had 24 serves, which was three more than they had in the first and third sets combined.
“Our main focus was to score points when Micah Jones was in the back row, but that didn’t work too well when we started missing serves,” said coach Kevin Helm.
When the Lady Rams were able to string together several serves in the first set, they showed their potential, one time scoring four straight points to cut a 10-point deficit down to six.
But it was a 10-point serving streak from Cowden-Herrick sophomore Ariel Heiserman and five kills from senior Micah Jones that were too much to overcome.
The teams played back-and-forth for the first 18 points of the second set, but the Lady Rams broke the 9-9 tie with four straight points from senior Jenna Hunt. Included were kills from senior Shaunna Rainey, who led the team with six, and senior Ashley Blankenship, who added four in the match.
Just four points after Hunt’s serves, Blankenship had a successful turn at the service line, converting five straight points to put Ramsey ahead, 19-11.
Neither team did much for the rest of the set until Rainey recorded back-to-back kills for the final two points.
“We had a talk after the first game about how we needed to play better,” Helm said. “We came out on fire and did that.”
The strong attack game continued for the first two points of the third set, as Blankenship killed off the first two points to help Ramsey take a 3-0 lead, but just a short while later, Cowden-Herrick sophomore Haven Lorton scored nine points in a row to give the Lady Hornets a 12-4 advantage.
No timeout was called during that streak, and Helm said that he wanted to see how his players would respond to a tough situation.
“I like to see if the girls can work through it,” he said. “By the time I would have called one, it would have been too late.”
Ramsey did have kills on two of the final three points, but it wasn’t enough to take the victory.
Tuesday, Oct. 16
Cowden 25, Ramsey 16
Ramsey 25, Cowden 16
Cowden 15, Ramsey 8
Kills: Rainey, 6; Blankenship, 4; Elizabeth Hortenstine, 4; Hunt, 2; Breanna Seaton, 2; Sydney Lay, 1.
Aces: Blankenship, 3; Hunt, 2.
Assists: Hunt, 13; Seaton, 2; Blankenship, 1; Hortenstine, 1; Lay, 1; Rainey, 1.
Blocks: Rainey, 1½; Hunt, 1; Seaton, ½.