A dramatic win in the first game of the best-of-five volleyball match set the stage for Augusta Prep against Wardlaw Academy on Tuesday night.
The Lady Cavaliers watched a 23-15 lead turn into a 24-23 deficit before Margaret Cavanaugh’s desperation, one-handed tap landed safely to tie the game. Hannah Masiongale’s ace and service winner gave the Lady Cavaliers a 26-24 win in the opening set and they finished the sweep with 25-12 and 25-19 victories.
“I knew that I had to help my team out and I had to go strong, but it had to be in,” Masiongale said of serving out the first game. “I wasn’t going to go 100 percent, but I was going to go 70.”
With the injured Brooke Stevens missing another game, Augusta Prep still managed to improve to 8-1, receiving significant contributions from everyone on the court.
While calling it a good win, coach Rich Bland said he is still adjusting his rotations.
“It’s the third lineup we’ve tried in the last three matches, so we’re trying to find the right puzzle pieces to go together,” Bland said. “We’ve got the right players on the team and on the court, we’re just trying to get that right combination as far as a lineup to be consistent.”
Junior setter Masiongale is a key piece. After serving out Game 1, she started with a strong service game as the Lady Cavaliers jumped out to a 7-0 lead over Wardlaw (3-1) to start Game 2. She finished the night with 15 assists, three aces and three kills. Seven different players recorded kills, led by Savina Patheja’s eight. Herrington Murray paced the team with 13 digs.
The two squads were knotted at 17 in Game 3 before Augusta Prep went on a 6-0 run to break it open. Murray served five of the points and was helped by two Cavanaugh kills and one from Patheja. Fittingly, Masiongale stepped to the line for the final serve and set up senior Beka Childs for a crosscourt kill from her outside hitter position.