By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

LATEXO – The Latexo Lady Tigers played host to their neighbors from the north as the Grapeland Sandiettes blew into town for a volleyball match on Tuesday, Sept. 19.

It was a hard-fought contest that could have gone either way, but in the end the Sandiettes left town with the 3-1 (26-24, 21-25, 25-22, 25-14) victory.

The opening game of the match saw the Lady Tigers take an early lead on the Sandiettes. Latexo led by a score of 4-2 when a very questionable call was made by the officiating crew. The call seemed to spark the Lady Tigers and dampen the Sandiettes spirit.

Latexo moved out to a 9-4 lead when a second questionable call by the officials occurred. The Lady Tigers used the opportunity to extend their lead to 13-6 but that was when Grapeland Coach Megan Simison called time out.

The time out seemed to calm the young Sandiettes and helped remove some of their frustration with the referees. Grapeland came out of the time out and scored eight of the next 10 points to cut the Latexo lead to 15-14.

The Lady Tigers attempted to pull away after that as they opened up a 19-14 lead and seemed poised to close out the game. The Sandiettes had different ideas, however, and whittled the lead down to one, with the score 20-19 in favor of the home team.

Latexo pushed their lead to 24-22, but the Sandiettes were able to regroup and rattled off the next four points to come from behind and take the first set by a score of 26-24.

The second set started off with the Lady Tigers seizing the early lead. The Sandiettes knotted the set at five all and then again at seven all.

The two teams stayed close as Latexo was never able to move ahead by more than two points, until the 14-13 mark. At that point, the Lady Tigers rattled off five straight points to take a 19-13 lead, then hung on to take the second set, 25-21, and even the match at 1-1.

The third set of the match was a back and forth affair as neither team could pull away from the other. Grapeland took an early 5-3 lead, but fell behind as the score became 9-10.

After that, the Sandiettes and Lady Tigers played to a stand-off as Grapeland could only move ahead by two which allowed the Lady Tigers to tie the score at 20. Latexo pulled ahead by two, but then Grapeland scored five straight points to win the second set and take a 2-1 lead in the match.

The third set belonged to the visitors from Grapeland as they took over the match and opened up an 11-1 lead, thanks to the net play of Teira Jones, Hannah Chipman and Tatiyanna Bowie. Latexo managed to close the score to 14-10 before Grapeland went on a 6-0 run to extend their lead to 20-10.

From there, the Sandiettes hung on to win the fourth set by a 25-14 margin and captured the match by a score of three sets to one.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.