Jordan-Matthews’ volleyball team completed the season sweep over its rival Chatham Central on Sept. 19 in another tight five-set battle.
The Jets overcame a deficit and executed when they needed to in the 3-2 victory.
Jordan-Matthews actually started the game on the right foot, taking a 12-point win in the first set. The Jets made it tough for Central to return their attacks, completing kills and forcing the Bears into wild returns that went out of bounds.
“In the first set, we just got off to a good start with our basic fundamentals,” Jordan-Matthews’ head coach Johnny Alston said. “The girls served good, they passed good. Things they’ve been working on in practice.”
Things turned for the Jets, though, as Central returned the favor in the second and third sets. The Bears began to execute more service aces and kills while also forcing Jordan-Matthews into tough returns.
Although the second and third sets went back and forth, Central came out on top in both, taking a 2-1 lead.
During the break, and in timeouts, Alston reassured his team that the game wasn’t decided just yet.
“I told them to keep thinking positive and keep playing hard,” Alston said. “Once they got a chance to get some momentum on our side, things appeared to be headed in the right direction. I told them to keep playing hard, the day was not over.”
With their backs against the wall, Alston’s seven-girl rotation picked up their intensity in the fourth set and jumped out to a 12-6 lead.
“Sometimes we’re not giving it everything we could,” senior Lia Carter said. “We come together, and we look at each other in the eye because we know what we can do. We just talk to each other and we just settle down, take a few deep breaths.”
Central picked up its own momentum halfway through, making a run to come within three points. However, the Jets made the necessary plays to hold them off and force a fifth set.
Senior Janeryra Guerrero-Jaimes came through with some key service aces, along with her 30 assists, while the rest of the team, especially Carter, hit the floor and hustled to keep balls in play.
Carter recorded 13 digs, and four of them were “outstanding defensive efforts,” according to Alston.
“Our serving work paid off for us,” Alston said. “All of the girls work extremely hard in practice on serving. And, I think one of the biggest things was the hustle of (Carter). She played a few (balls) over to the side and fell down. That right there provided a spark for the rest of the girls.”
That energy and execution spilled over into the final set in which Jordan-Matthews out-lasted Central, 15-11.
The Jets picked up their third conference win in a row, and for the Bears, it was their fourth loss in games that go to five sets.
As of that night, they are 1-4 in five-set games. Central head coach Brett Walden said his team played with great effort against the Jets, but they just made less plays than their opponent.