At Cullman High Gymnasium:
Decatur Heritage 25 25
Cullman 20 13
DH (2-8) wins match 2-0
Time of Match: 0:41
Decatur Heritage 21 20
Gardendale 25 25
Gardendale wins match 2-0
Time of Match: 0:45
Gardendale 16 25 15
Cullman 25 23 17
Cullman (7-6) wins match 2-1
Time of Match: 1:04
FLASH NOTES: A split decision in the tri-match indicated how each team played good and not at times. Decatur Heritage, who lost a tiebreaker set at Cullman to the Lady Bearcats four days ago, was back and determined to even the numbers.
The Lady Eagles did just that. In the opening set with the game tied at 18-18, Decatur Heritage took advantage of a multiple contact (2 hits) call on Cullman and got the lead.
Service points from Abigail Terry gave them a 21-18 lead when Cullman broke service.
Terry got a kill then two more break points, followed by a serve from Katelyn Garrie ended the first set in Decatur Heritage's favor.
Terry took to the service line in the second set with Heritage up 10-8 and landed six in a row, extending the margin to 16-8.
Cullman was unable to slow down the momentum of the Lady Eagles, with Brooklyn Palmer finishing off the sweep, scoring the last service points.
Gardendale then stepped on to the floor and met Decatur Heritage. They were able to pull out two hard fought decisions by 25-21 and 25-20, sending the Lady Eagles back to Decatur 1-1 on the day and in a position to try and claim a match against Cullman.
Coach Meghan Cagle's Lady Bearcats overcame the sluggish match against Decatur Heritage and grabbed a 1-0 lead in the match behind 10 consecutive service points from Kada Milne.
Milne went to the service area with Cullman down 11-10. By the time she kept Gardendale off balance receiving her serve, the Lady 'Cats led 19-12.
Caroline Hollingsworth converted a kill and had a block to carry Cullman on to the win, with the set ending on a kill by L.G. Evans.
Gardendale then settled into a rhythm and evened the match a victory apiece with Kiara Rivers serving well late in the game that put them ahead.
Cullman broke service from 24-19 to 24-23, thanks to four service points by Marissa Brown.
However, Brown served the ball long, resulting in a point for the Lady Rockets and the match heading to a tiebreaker.
Playing their second tiebreaking set in four days, Cullman was down 12-10 when a serve by Milne went long.
Determined to avoid an upset at home, the Lady 'Cats got the score tied, then went up 14-13 on a 2 hits call against Gardendale.
Amy Huett got a kill for the Lady Rockets, sending it to 14-14. Back to back 2 hits penalties, the first on Cullman, then on Gardendale, had the score at 15-15.
With Cullman on serve, Gracie Apel utilized her skills to serve it deep as the Lady Rockets could not return it without committing an error.
Two good serves from her, plus the play at the net by Karina Thomas, Hollingsworth, Abella Skipper, Evans and the back row featuring Ashlen Heatherly, Brown, carried the Lady Bearcats on to a thrilling finish at 7:35 p.m.
Up next for Cullman: Vs. Muscle Shoals & Holly Pond Tuesday 4:30 p.m.
Photo 1: Cullman coach Meghan Cagle talks to her team during match with Decatur Heritage.
Photo 2: Kaina Thomas (8), Caroline Hollingsworth (21), L.G. Evans (13) look toward Cullman coach Meghan Cagle in match with Decatur Heritage.
Photo 3: L.G. Evans (13), Gracie Apel (2) and Kaina Thomas (8) waiting for the serve from Gardendale in the 1st set of their match Monday night.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton