Grapeland Falls to Centerville in Four

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

FAIRFIELD – For the first time since 2013, the Grapeland Sandiettes qualified for the postseason in volleyball and expectations were high as they traveled to Fairfield on Tuesday, Oct. 30 to take on the Centerville Lady Tigers in the Bi-District round of the playoffs.

The match was close throughout, but in the end, the Sandiettes came up short as they fell to the Lady Tigers in four games by scores of 21-25, 25-21, 19-25 and 22-25.

The first game of the match saw Centerville jump out to an early 9-3 lead only to see Grapeland whittle the lead down to 9-7, with Hannah Chipman serving. The Lady Tigers pushed their lead out to five but Grapeland cut it down to two points behind the service of Ragan Bowie.

The next several rallies saw the teams exchange points with the Sandiettes staying within striking distance of the Lady Tigers. Grapeland cut the lead to 20-19, followed by a big spike from Tatiyanna Bowie which tied the score at 20 and forced Centerville to call timeout.

The TO gave the Lady Tigers time to regroup, score the next four points and then put the game away at 25-21 on a spike from MacKenzie Mordecai.

Game two started out much like game one with Centerville seizing an early lead at 7-4. With Cierra Simon serving, Grapeland cut the lead down to one at 6-7 before the Lady Tigers eased out to a three point lead at 11-8.

The Sandiettes scored four of the next five points to knot the score at 12 but Centerville managed to push the lead back to three at 18-15. This time, it was Head Coach Anthony DeCello who called timeout to give his players a chance to catch their breath.

The strategy worked as the Sandiettes rattled off the next four points to take their first lead of the match at 19-18. The score remained close as the two teams battled back-and-forth until four consecutive points set up by Kenya Woods service gave Grapeland the 25-21 win in game two.

With the match tied at one game apiece, it appeared as if the momentum had shifted to the Grapeland side as Cheney Boyd helped the Sandiettes start the third game off with an early 8-5 lead. Centerville fought back, however, to tie the game at eight and then went on a 5-1 run to open up a 14-10 lead.   

The Sandiettes wouldn’t go away, however, and got within a point with the score 16-15, but a vicious spike by Centerville’s Keyonna Holley started a 9-4 run by the Lady Tigers which closed out the third game by a score of 25-19, in favor of Centerville.

In game four, the Sandiettes had their backs to the wall and they played like it. Behind the serving of Boyd and Maddie McCombs, along with the net play of Kaylee Francis, Grapeland opened up an 11-4 lead.

But just as it appeared Grapeland might pull away to a game four win, Centerville began to chip away at the Sandiettes lead. The Lady Tigers went on an 8-1 run to tie things up at 12.

The Sandiettes pulled back ahead but couldn’t put Centerville away as the Lady Tigers came all the way back to take an 18-17 lead, which was their first since the score was 1-0.

Grapeland pulled back ahead at 20-19, but Centerville bounced back to take a 21-20 lead. The Sandiettes knotted the score at 21, but the Lady Tigers pulled away to win the game by a score of 25-22 and the match by a 3-1 (25-21, 21-25, 25-19 and 25-22) margin.

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