By Tony Adams, for Temple College
TEMPLE – The Temple College Leopards volleyball team had a few goals in mind Tuesday night as they hosted the Wharton County Junior College Pioneers at the Temple College Gymnasium.
Goal 1: Avenge the loss that the Leopards suffered on the Pioneers’ home court on Aug. 21.
Goal 2: Pocket their first win of the season.
Goal 3: Give TC head coach Rachel Melancon a victorious birthday present.
Fighting from two games down, the Leopards rallied to win the last three and to claim the match. The scores were 15-25, 26-28, 25-23, 25-21 and 15-9.
The Leopards jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the opening game, thanks in part to a Lexi Manning (Celina) ace.
Wharton stormed back to finish the game on a 23-11 run.
The Leopards trailed for the majority of the second game before erasing a four-point deficit, getting a big ace from Viany Mercado (Houston), and key kills from Nyla Lewis (Round Rock), Manning, Mia Dunaway (New Braunfels), Haley Tucker (Cameron) and Zaylea Brunette (Madisonville) to tie the game at 23.
TC fought off four game points before the Pioneers clinched the second set by the two-point minimum.
The Leopards jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead before a side out and an ace by Wharton’s Rebekah Wilks highlighted a Wharton 6-3 push.
Emily Widner’s (Arlington) ace to give TC an 8-6 lead propelled the Leopards through the middle strains of the game, as they opened a five-point lead, 19-14. Libby Flores (Lufkin) was steady throughout the night, having set a number of key points for the Leopards.
Wharton went on a 9-3 run to take a 23-22 lead and put the Leopards on the ropes.
TC scored the last three points to claim the third set and stay alive.
The Pioneers jumped out to 7-4 advantage to start the fourth game, as the game stayed close throughout.
Haylee Mabee (Marion), Kennedie Caldwell (Saginaw), and Gracie Ullevig (Lampasas) stepped up in the fourth stanza as they made several critical digs to help pull the Leopards closer, tie the game at 14-14, and then the team pulled together for an 11-7 run to win the set by four points to force a fifth and deciding game.
The teams were close in the early stages of the final game when the Leopards made a late push to finish the match on an 11-6 clip to clinch their first win of the season.
The Leopards hit the road Thursday for games at Coastal Bend College. The next home match is Sept. 20 versus Hill College.
Upcoming games include:
- Sept. 7 at Coastal Bend (6 p.m.)
- Sept. 9 at Dallas College Richland (11 a.m.)
- Sept. 9 at Dallas College Northlake (1 p.m.) – games played at Dallas College Richland
- Sept. 11 at Dallas College Northlake (6 p.m.)
- Sept. 13 at Vernon College (6 p.m.)
All Temple College home games are available live on Playsight with play-by-play announcer Tony Adams calling the action.
ABOUT TEMPLE COLLEGE
Temple College is “Your Community’s College,” a dynamic and growing community college that equips thousands of Central Texas students with the knowledge and skills for 21st-century success. Temple College, which has campuses in Temple, Hutto and Taylor, offers more than 75 degree and certificate programs to students who seek to earn credits for transfer, graduate with an associate degree or complete a certificate for fast entry into the workforce.
Founded in 1926, Temple College has enjoyed a reputation for academic excellence for 97 years. It is nationally recognized for its exceptional programs, from visual and performing arts to competitive athletics. The College has become one of the state’s premiere institutions for healthcare providers’ education and training, advanced manufacturing, and workforce development programs. The faculty and staff are committed to providing exceptional quality instruction.