Gators rally twice, fall short to Tigers

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SEVEN SPRINGS - Spring Creek nearly erased a pair of second- and third-set deficits against East Central 2A foe James Kenan in “The Swamp” on Tuesday evening.

Scarlett Joyner wished her team had started the fight sooner.

“I really thought we were going to take those last two [sets],” said Joyner after a 25-15, 22-25, 18-25 loss that left the Gators winless in five outings this season.

“Tonight was the first night I’ve seen any kind of fight in my girls. We’ve just to start the fight sooner…fight from the first point, but this is encouraging to me because the girls usually get really down on themselves and they lack confidence. Tonight, they were picking each other up and focusing on what they needed to do.”

Kenan bolted to an 8-0 lead in set two on five consecutive aces from Emma Haze Avent and a couple of unforced SC errors. The advantage swelled to 12 points late in the set before the Gators staged their first comeback of the night.

Down 24-12, Yaili Espinosa toed the service line and ignited a 10-0 run. Alissa Price provided a couple of kills during the surge that forced the Tigers (1-4, 1-4 East Central) to burn both of their timeouts.

An unforced error gave Kenan the set.

In set three, SC trailed 21-15 and closed the gap to 21-18 with Espinosa at the service line again. The Tigers answered with a match-clinching 4-0 run and claimed their third straight victory over the Gators.

“We had more attacks tonight than we’ve had all season,” said Joyner, whose team posted season highs for kills (19), digs (42) and points scored in a match (55).

Espinosa ended the night with three kills, four assists, four aces and seven digs. Taylor Smith provided seven digs and seven kills. Emily Williams supplied seven assists and six digs.

Price posted five kills, three aces and seven digs.

Spring Creek travels to James Kenan on Thursday.

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