Lovett Downs Pace Academy 3-0 For Region Championship And First Win Over Knights Since 2017
The Lovett Lions volleyball team had not defeated the Pace Academy Knights since the 2017 season. This year also marked the first time the two teams had not faced each other in the regular season in quite a while. The Knights, four time defending state champions, would come out and aggressively jump out on the Lions going up by as many as 11 points in set one. However, Lovett would not fold and after trailing 22-14, would go on an 11-0 run to take the set 25-22.
As set two would get underway, the two teams would battle it out down the stretch as the set remained close win Lovett having the biggest lead of the set, going up by as many four a couple of times in the period. But late, with the Knights trailing 24-22, Pace would go on a quick 2-0 run to tie up the set at 24 all, but then the Lions would respond with a 2-0 run of their own to win the set, 26-24. Up two sets to none, the Lions smelled blood and would go in for the kill, dominating in set three to win it 25-6, taking the match 3-0 and winning the region championship.
Following the win, head coach, Katie Johnson said “being disciplined” played a big role in the Lions come back in the opening set. “We talked about not letting the ball hit the floor and playing for each other,” Johnson said in the post match interview. She added that overall, they felt that they had a lot of individual play early on, but was able to quickly turn things around “and really came back as a team.” Senior Christina Hill said the win was also special for the simple fact that the Lions had not beaten Pace during four years at Lovett.
“Last year they beat us in the region championship, so I was really proud and happy that we got this win today,” Hill said. Senior Makayla Moran added that the team had a “good mentality” heading into the match, which was another important factor for them in getting Thursday’s win over Pace. “Confident and not too cocky,” Moran said, adding later that the energy of the team was great and they will need the same energy heading into the state playoffs.