Chet Snyder’s Fairfield Lady Mules came into the year with lofty goals. Among them was winning all four of their regular season tournaments.
One tournament down, goals still in tact.
The Lady Mules went 5-0 Saturday in the Fairfield Mule Kickoff Tournament, avenging a rare summer loss in the championship by winning a three-set battle with NCOE, 25-12, 25-27, 25-23. The first four victories came in straight sets.
Fly By The Hawks
The Mule gals opened their season with a 25-12, 25-16 win over Gallatin County. All pool play games began with a 4-4 score.
The Lady Mules allowed consecutive points to the Lady Hawks just once in the opening set, points eight and nine. They led 12-9 at the time, and then pulled away with a 13-3 run to close the set.
Gallatin had a 9-8 lead in the second set before Fairfield scored five in a row and the Lady Mules never trailed again, as the Hawks scored off their own serve just one more time in the set.
Cruise Past Christopher
In their second pool play match, Fairfield again dominated, taking a 25-19, 25-10 victory from the Christopher Lady Bearcats.
Fairfield jumped out to an 11-7 lead in the opening set, fell behind once at 14-13, but then allowed just five more points. They regained the lead for good at 16-15 and did not trail again.
In the second set, Fairfield stifled Christopher throughout, allowing just six points. They took control with an eight-point run served by Leah Bowers.
Staunton Stiff Competition
Fairfield received a stern test in their pool play finale from the Staunton Lady Bulldogs, but pulled away late in both for a 28-26, 25-17 win.
Staunton led 17-15 in the first set before a four-point run by Fairfield that included two kills by Chloe Britton and one from Jacklyn Simms. The Bulldogs answered with four in a row to regain the lead, and still led as late as 23-21.
Simms had a kill and Bowers had an ace to tie the game before Staunton went back on top with a kill to get to game point. Fairfield avoided defeat and regained the lead on two straight kills by Britton and then Nadia Reid ended the set with a kill for the two-point difference.
In the second set, Staunton again held close early, playing to an 11-11 tie before Fairfield scored five in a row on Lexi Hobbs’ serve. Fairfield then slowly pulled away to leads of 19-12, 20-13 and 23-14 before giving up three in a row. Fairfield took the last two points of the set to win by eight.
Cisne In Crossover
Crossover play saw Fairfield match up with another Wayne County squad, the Cisne Lady Lions, who finished second behind NCOE in their pool.
Fairfield took command early in the first set, racing out to an 11-3 lead. The young Lionesses were able to regroup after that and trade points for a stretch, but never made up much ground either. They still trailed by eight at 22-14 before Fairfield scored the final three points of the set on kills by Jacklyn Simms, Nadia Reid and an ace by Colbie Sutton.
Fairfield went up 6-2 in the second set, with early kills from Simms and Britton. Cisne clawed back into contention with a 5-2 run, pulling within one at 8-7. The Lady Mules followed with a 9-2 run to take control once again, led by a pair of kills by freshman Makana Reid and aces by Kylie Stewart and Cierra Hall.
Sutton had a pair of aces in a four-point run to put Fairfield up 23-12. Cisne rallied with four of the next five, but Fairfield got the final point on a kill by Britton to send them on to the championship.
Staunton knocked off Cisne in the third place match.
Jaclyn Melton’s NCOE Lady Cardinals were one of just two teams to knock off Fairfield over the summer, and Melton picked up her 300th career win last week. They added four more wins Saturday to meet up with Fairfield in the championship. Both squads have aspirations of State, the Cards in 1A and the Lady Mules in 2A.
Fairfield absolutely dominated the first set Saturday, however, rolling to a 25-12 win. NCOE scored consecutive points just once in the set, at nine and 10. By then, they had already fallen behind 18-8. Fairfield finished them off with a 6-1 run to punctuate the set.
Fairfield put their offensive versatility on display in the set, with Britton and Simms each finishing with four kills, N. Reid had three, while Callie Vaughan and Stewart each had two.
What They Expected
The next two sets were more like what the match was expected to resemble, a back-and-forth slugfest.
Fairfield went up 5-3 in the second set, getting three in a row on two kills by Simms and a block by N. Reid. NCOE answered with four in a row to start a 7-1 run and go up 10-6. They maintained that lead all the way to a 19-15 score.
Fairfield rallied with a 7-1 run to regain the lead. N. Reid had two kills in three points to spark the surge, with Britton dumping one in the middle of the defense in between. Reid capped off the surge with a kill on an overpass for a 22-20 lead.
NCOE tied the set at 22 before Fairfield scored two in a row on kills by Britton and Bowers. NCOE scored the next three to beat Fairfield to 25, but Fairfield fought off game point once when NCOE got into the net on an attack. The Lady Cards came up with two straight kills, however, to win the set, 27-25, and force a third set.
The third set was more of the same from the second set. Fairfield raced out to an 8-3 lead with four kills and a block by Simms, with the lanky senior uncoiling like a striking snake at the net.
NCOE rallied with a 9-2 run to take the lead, taking advantage of four Fairfield attack errors in the run.
They traded points back and forth to an 18-17 NCOE lead before NCOE looked to be taking control with a three-point run to go up four late.
Fairfield showed their mettle, however, taking advantage of a missed serve to start a seven-point run. Britton had two kills in the run and Bowers had a block.
That moved Fairfield to game point at 24-21, before NCOE scored two in a row to get back within one. NCOE sent their next attack long, however, to give Fairfield the title decider.
Serves-Aces-Errors—Chloe Britton 43-3-9, Macayle Snyder 36-2-3, Lexi Hobbs 28-1-0, Kylie Stewart 45-6-2, Colbie Sutton 55-4-3, Leah Bowers 35-1-2, Lauren Eckleberry 10-1-0, Makana 7-1-2, Kenzie Vaughan 3-1-0, Cierra Hall 7-1-0, Team 270-21-21.
Team Serve Percentage—95 percent.
Kills-Attacks-Errors—Jacklyn Simms 37-107-9. Britton 35-102-20. Nadia Reid 26-81-7, Kylie Stewart 15-45-3, Callie Vaughan 15-52-5, Bowers 5-13-0, M. Reid 5-10-0, Macayle Snyder 1-1-0, Lexi Hobbs 1-3-0, Lauren Eckleberry 1-5-0, Team 131-419-45.
Blocks—N. Reid 12, Bowers 3, Vaughan 3, Britton 1, Simms 1.
Block Assists—N. Reid 3, Bowers 3, C. Vaughan 3, Simms 1.
Assists—Britton 51, Snyder 49, Hobbs 6, Stewart 5, N. Reid 3, Kenna Davis 4, Simms 1.
Digs—Hobbs 58, Stewart 32, Britton 20, Sutton 20, Snyder 10, Simms 8, C. Vaughan 6, N. Reid 4, Hall 2, Eckelberry 1, K. Vaughan 1.
Nadia Reid, Fairfield
Chloe Britton, Fairfield
Lexi Hobbs, Fairfield
Evie Duncan, NCOE
Hollan Everett, NCOE
Emilee Bishop, NCOE
Jocelyn Hall, Cisne