Lady Hounds cruise to sectional victory

In her final match on her home court, Manchester senior Gabi Lainhart gets in position to return serve in the Lady Hounds’ three-set sectional victory over Green on Monday night.

Manchester downs Green in straight sets – 

Story and photos by Mark Carpenter – 

Tournament time came to Manchester High School on Oct. 16 as the Lady Hounds volleyball squad opened up postseason play in the Southeast District Division IV tourney. The opponent for the contest was the Green Lady Bobcats, who came into the match winless on the season, and the Manchester girls handled them as they should have, advancing on the tournament bracket with a straight set triumph, 25-16, 25-20, 25-12.
“They had nothing to lose coming in and could just leave it all out there,” said Manchester head coach Kaci Compton in a post game radio interview. “We had some phenomenal serving tonight from players like Madison Jones, who has improved her serve so much since the beginning of the season.”
‘Our seniors came up big again tonight, being leaders for us and setting the example for our younger players.”
The match will not go down in history as one of the most exciting ever to grace the court at MHS, but it was a win for the Lady Hounds nevertheless, who opened the first set with a 5-0 spurt behind the serves of Katie Sandlin. A later series of serves from Brooke Kennedy kept the Manchester lead at 10-5, before Green reeled off five straight to tie the set.
The first set stayed close to the vest until, with the Lady Hounds up 18-16, sophomore Madison Jones stepped back to the service line. Three aces and seven service points later, the Lady Hounds had taken the opening set by a score of 25-16.

After a successful kill, Manchester’s McKinlee Grooms, left, gives the stare down to the opponent during Monday night’s sectional win over Green.

In the second set, the Lady Hounds again jumped to an early lead, going in front 6-1, again with Jones dominating from the service line. Moments later, it was senior Alyssa Hoskins reeling off four straight serves to put the home team in firm control, leading 12-3. The Lady Bobcats rallied to take seven of the next nine points to close the gap to 14-10, but they were never able to come all the way back as the Lady Hounds used a Hoskins kill and a set of serves by Abby McFarland to close out a 25-20 win and go up in the match two sets to none.
Set number three was a tight one in the beginning, and with the Lady Hounds on top 8-5, Hoskins agains stepped back to serve and was again up to the task, rattling off six in a row, a run that included two aces and kills by McFarland and McKinlee Grooms. That gave the Lady Hounds a strangle hold on the third set and they were not about to let go.
A pair of service aces by McFarland kept the lead steady at 20-8, and two later service points off the bench by Macy Huron made it 23-10 and the home team took two of the final four points to close out a sectional tournament win, taking the third set 25-12.
The victory earned the Lady Hounds a trip to the Division IV sectional championship match, where they traveled to Portsmouth Clay on Thursday, Oct. 19 to face the number two seeded Lady Panthers, where unfortunately the season ended with a three-set defeat.