TOMBSTONE — It took five sets, but the Yellow Jackets flew away with the 3-2 win over the visiting Cowgirls of Willcox High School Tuesday night in Tombstone.
Tombstone dropped the first set 25-23 but rebounded to win the second game 25-14 and the third frame 25-15. However Willcox didn’t waltz away. They won the fourth set 25-16 to force the winner take all fifth set. The Yellow Jackets had a good start to the final game but watched their lead slip away in the latter stage, however, they rallied to win the game 15-10.
The home team got off to a sluggish start to the match and found themselves down 7-1 early in the match. They were able to close the game to one point to make the score 9-8 still in favor of the visitors. Despite keeping Willcox within arms reach, Tombstone was unable to take a lead in the first set. Tombstone trailed 22-16 in the latter stages of the game but rallied to trim Willcox’s lead to one, 24-23. A serving error by the Yellow Jackets gave the Cowgirls the set victory.
Unlike the first set, Tombstone dominated the second game. After falling behind 2-0 to start, the Yellow Jackets swarmed back to tie the game 2-2 and fly past the Cowgirls to take their first lead of the match, 4-2. Their lead quickly grew to 13-4 which forced Willcox to call a timeout.
The Jackets didn’t allow the Cowgirls to gain much momentum in the game as they held Willcox to just 14 points. Tombstone sealed their first win of the match with an ace by Kierstan Schilling.
Tombstone carried their momentum into the third set as Mariah Hooper served three consecutive aces to give the home team the early 3-0 advantage. Willcox battled to knot the score at 3-3, but a serving error gave Tombstone back the lead. Tombstone built back their three point advantage, 6-3, but it didn’t last long as Willcox once again tied the game at 6-6.
Tombstone pushed ahead even more, making the score 20-11 before turning the ball over to the Cowgirls. A serving error by Willcox sealed the set win for Tombstone.
Willcox turned the tables in the fourth set. After a close battle and multiple exchanges in points to start the game, Willcox prevailed and was able to string together points to pull ahead. Tombstone coach Dan Romero called a timeout with the score 20-15 to try and swing momentum back in favor of his team.
Tombstone scored the first point out of the break, but Willcox followed with the five points to force a fifth and final set.
The teams were neck and neck a third of the way through the final set until Tombstone took a three point advantage, 8-5, causing a timeout by Willcox.
Thursday’s win puts the 23rd ranked Yellow Jackets at 6-6 this season. They return to the court on Friday when they travel to St. David to play a non-conference game against the undefeated Tigers.