Lady Eagles rally to advance to 6A semifinals

Published 11:19 pm Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Oak Mountain junior Hannah Beach leaps for a block on Grissom's Crystal Carrasquillo in the Lady Eagles' 3-2 quarterfinal victory over the Lady Tigers on Oct. 31. (Reporter photo/Mickel Ponthieux)

By MICKEL PONTHIEUX / Sports Reporter

BIRMINGHAM – The Oak Mountain Lady Eagles were two points away from being swept by Grissom in the Class 6A quarterfinals, but rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Lady Tigers on Oct. 31.

“We made a position change, but the girls reacted,” said Oak Mountain head coach Lance Woods. “It was their attitude that came through for us.

Grissom took a 2-0 lead in the match after taking the first two sets 20-25 and 21-25.

“Starting off I thought we had it,” said Lady Eagles’ senior Hannah Kowal. “I was really surprised by Grissom’s quickness. Even though we went down two sets, I had no fear that we were going to lose that match.”

Oak Mountain (35-7) trailed as much as 13-17 in the third set, but came back to tie the score at 20-20 led by a pair of kills by Madison Pierce and Emily Cosgrove. The Lady Eagles took a 23-22 lead on a three-point rally, but Grissom’s Kristy Bohan put down a kill to put Oak Mountain two points from having their season come to an end.

Cosgrove put down two kills to give the Lady Eagles’ a 25-23 set victory for a 2-1 Grissom lead in the match.

Oak Mountain took the momentum from a third set into the fourth and took a 6-2 lead. The Lady Eagles used a 7-0 rally for a 15-7 advantage and never let the Lady Tigers get within six on their way to a 25-18 set win to even the match 2-2.

Neither team was ready to let their season end in the fifth set and each waited for the other to make a mistake.

“Grissom is a championship team,” said Woods. “We found a little thing that we could take advantage of to give us a second cause they are faster than us.”

Oak Mountain was able to capitalize on a pair of Grissom errors and was the first to take a two-point lead late in the match. Cosgrove put down a kill for a 14-12 lead. The Oak Mountain senior then put down her final kill of the match to send the Lady Eagles into the semifinals on a 15-12 set win.

“Emily always makes a big difference on front row,” Kowal said about her senior teammate. “It’s nice to have blocked touches from her.”

Cosgrove finished the game with team-high 19 kills with six blocks and six digs. Kowal added 15 kills and seven digs. Hannah Beach finished with team-high 38 assists, 10 kills, six digs, and two aces. Senior Amy Ritenour led Oak Mountain with 14 digs.

“I was really proud of my team,” Kowal said on the win. “That was the most heart and determination that I have seen us play with all year.”