The Franklin Community High School volleyball team had its share of early-season hiccups early in Thursday evening’s match against Perry Meridian — but once the Grizzly Cubs got some momentum going, there was no stopping them.
Storming back after dropping the opening game, Franklin got itself under control midway through Game 2 and put away a 24-26, 25-19, 25-23, 25-12 triumph against Perry Meridian.
The Grizzly Cubs (2-0) squandered a set point in a back-and-forth Game 1, but after pulling ahead at 10-9 in Game 2, they did not trail again for the rest of the night.
“We have a lot of good team chemistry, and we were able to talk it out really well, so that helps us a lot,” Franklin senior Addie Payne said of overcoming the early deficit. “We like to mix things up and try to do things so we can get out of those ruts.”
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The opening game was a marathon affair featuring 18 ties and 13 lead changes. Neither team was able to run off more than three points in a row during the set — but the Falcons got three straight at the most critical time, overcoming a 24-23 Franklin lead to steal the game.
The second set began in similar fashion before the Grizzly Cubs reeled off 12 consecutive points on the serve of Payne to take a commanding 19-9 lead.
“We needed to get a lead,” Payne said, “and I was like, ‘You know what? I’m back here. I’m going to push as hard as I can, do what I need to do, control my serve so that we can get some momentum back and start playing our game.'”
Perry Meridian fought back to within 21-18 before Franklin took four of the next five points to put Game 2 away.
Franklin put Perry Meridian in a 7-0 hole at the outset of the pivotal third set before the Falcons came back, tying the score at 20-20. The visitors then fought off a pair of game points before a Payne block clinched it for the Grizzly Cubs.
There was no such drama in Game 4, thanks in large part to some strong serving by the home squad. Isabell Mahin — who had 13 kills and 16 digs on the night — served up a pair of aces to help Franklin build a 6-0 cushion, and Abby Sewell added consecutive aces shortly thereafter as the Grizzly Cubs stretched their lead to 17-4.
A run of five straight points by Perry Meridian made it 20-12, but a kill by Payne put Franklin back on serve, and Brooklyn Peddycord shut the door on the Falcons with aces on the final two points of the match.
Franklin coach Roxanne Chapman was pleased with how her girls put some pressure on the visitors with their serve down the stretch and is hopeful that Thursday’s win will help them build some more confidence and momentum.
“I’m hoping that we figure out how to finish like we did in that last game,” Chapman stated. “If we can start like that, then we’re going to have a really good season.”