With A.I. du Pont down three points in the fourth game and after having dropped the third game to Caravel on Thursday night, Allie Lugar stepped up to the line to serve for the Tigers and refused to be overwhelmed by the situation.
“I wasn’t really thinking actually; I was just calm and collected and not really telling myself anything,” Lugar said. “I was just focused enough to be saying that you need to put this down. You need to find a spot, put it down, and do it again.”
Lugar served five straight points to erase a deficit the Tigers had faced nearly the entire fourth game as A.I. went on to defeat the Buccaneers 3-1 (25-20, 25-12, 24-26, 25-20) in nonconference action.
A.I. jumped out to a two-game lead but gave up a seven-point advantage in the third game as Caravel clawed back to win in extra points after being down 21-14.
Courtney MacDonald led the Tigers with 23 kills, three aces, three blocks and 17 digs.
“We did lose control at the end of the [third] game, but our job – the captain’s job – is to help the team stay focused, and that’s exactly what we did,” MacDonald said. “I don’t think we did bad at all, there was just some miscommunication [at the end of the third set]. But we stayed focused. Allie had those nice serves, which boosted up the momentum and we just let it go from there.”
Brittany Ford finished with 12 kills for Caravel (9-5) while Codi Ziolkowski had five aces, five blocks and 14 assists.
“The one thing they do is they never get totally down,” Caravel coach Niki Buckland said. “We did come up from down in the third game. … We were able to put it together. We played an even better game in the fourth game too, but it didn’t go our way.”
After the third set slipped away, A.I. coach James Phillips reminded his team what it needed to do.
“I said we need to do the things on our side of the court well,” Phillips said. “Serving tough is what we do well. Playing really scrappy defense and then transitioning for points. They knew that. … We had it, we let it go extra points and we just didn’t finish.”
Sydney MacDonald served the final four points for the Tigers (11-3) to seal the win in the fourth game.
“I think we all held our patience,” Sydney MacDonald said of the team’s mindset after losing the third game. “We settled down, we kept calm and we played our game and worked together and trusted each other.”
With just one more regular-season match to play, Phillips said winning these types of matches will help the Tigers going into the state tournament.
“Not only does it give us a good stamina but it puts our minds in the right place to be competitive,” Phillips said. “We know that Caravel’s a great team, and we know that everybody in the state is out to win matches.”