The Mountain Home High School gymnasium may have just recently installed air conditioning, but there was no cooling off the Lady Bomber volleyball team’s seniors Thursday night.
Seniors Katie Wehmeyer and Kennedy Weiand combined for 37 kills, while classmates McKenzie Brannon, Cassie Martin and Ashlyn Paden combined for 43 digs, and Martin totaled 42 assists as the Lady Bombers picked up their second conference victory in as many tries with a thrilling, five-set win over the Marion Lady Patriots at The Hangar.
Mountain Home stunned the defending Class 6A state runner-up with a 19-25, 25-21, 25-23, 23-25, 15-11 victory to improve to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the 7A/6A-East.
Marion, which did not lose a player off last year’s team, is off to a 2-2 start and struggling with an 0-2 league mark after also falling at North Little Rock.
Wehmeyer had a monster double-double with 17 kills, 16 digs and eight blocks on the night, while Weiand led the offense with 20 kills.
“It’s hard to talk about one individual kid,” Mountain Home head coach Lindsey Leonard said of the team effort. “If you look at the stat sheet, Kennedy Weiand had the night of her life, McKenzie Brannon did a good job on the back row, Katie did her part on the front and back row, and Cassie set it up all night. Ashlyn Paden stepped up and took care of a lot of stuff we haven’t been getting the past couple games. I can’t say enough about how well she played.”
After falling behind after the first set, the Lady Bombers seized the momentum during a second game that saw 13 ties and 13 lead changes. The teams went back and forth with neither squad taking a lead larger than three until Mountain Home scored on match point on a Marion hitting error.
The Lady Bombers took that momentum and ran with it in the third set, never trailing after the 6-5 mark. Mountain Home led by as many as four on seven different occasions, the final one coming on a Marion service error at 24-20 before Sara Betts and Gabi Catt each had kills and a Lady Bomber hitting error brought Marion within one. Sophomore Maly Tabor ended the set with a kill to give the Lady Bombers a 25-23 win and a 2-1 set lead.
“The last couple days had been really difficult,” Leonard said. “We lost some games we didn’t want to lose, so to come back and be 2-0 in conference is great.”
The Lady Patriots appeared to seize the momentum back in the fourth after winning the set without trailing the entire time. Annalee Parker, Catt and Betts combined for 11 kills in the set.
The Lady Bombers stunned the Lady Patriots with a 5-1 lead to open the fifth and final set, however, with Weiand slamming four of her game-high 20 kills to open the game.
Back-to-back kills by Catt had Marion within 5-3, but Mountain Home never let the lead slip below three points again. With the Lady Bombers clinging to an 11-8 lead, Weiand hammered two more kills to stretch the lead to five. The senior finished the match with a kill for the 15-11 victory.
Brannon led the Lady Bomber defense with 20 digs, while Wehmeyer added 16, Martin added 14, Paden and Hannah Pfeifer totaled nine each, Maly Tabor had eight and Britney Leonard notched seven.
Ashley Pyeatt added seven kills to Weiand and Wehmeyer’s totals, while Tabor notched six.
Marion was led at the net by Parker with 18 kills, while Catt had 12 kills and three blocks and Betts tallied nine kills.
Defensively, Hope Phipps made 19 digs to lead the Lady Pats, while Sarah Burford made 18, Parker added nine and Catt totaled seven. Burford also served three aces and Phipps added two.
The Lady Bombers return to action on Tuesday with a conference trip to West Memphis with junior varsity action beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Marion won the junior varsity set, 25-22, while Mountain Home was a 25-20, 25-21 winner in the junior high match.
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