With her volleyball team behind 9-8 to McDowell during the final set, Meadville junior Marcadi McCoy had one goal in mind as she stepped to the service line.
“I have to get these serves over or we’re going to lose,” McCoy said. “I just had to do it. I knew I had to do it.”
Oh, she did it all right.
The Lady Bulldogs scored six consecutive points off McCoy’s serves to help Meadville pull out an exciting 23-25, 26-21, 25-14, 19-25, 15-10 victory over the Trojans during a non-region match on Thursday night at the House of Thrills.
Meadville (2-0) was in control once it won the second and third sets to pull ahead 2-1 overall. But McDowell (0-2) answered with a fourth-set triumph before it took leads of 4-0, 6-2 and 9-7 during the final 15-point set.
“We were getting a little nervous,” Meadville head coach Tammy Webber said. “They definitely had the momentum going into (the fifth game). I was getting a little edgy on the way I started us.”
The Bulldogs bore down behind the serves of McCoy and the powerful hits of senior Leah Jones during the remainder of the match. McCoy scored two service aces and Jones added three kills during Meadville’s 8-1 finish.
Jones’ match-winning kill hit McDowell’s defender so hard that the ball ricocheted to the scaffolding before it fell to the floor seconds later.
Meadville was able to stay away from McDowell senior Danielle Hayes down the stretch. Hayes finished with a team-best 17 kills and added eight digs and six blocks.
“I didn’t want them to get a big lead with Danielle in the front (row), Webber said. “I was counting the points until she would get to the back. But she got there and we capitalized on it.”
When Hayes was on, so were the Trojans. She had five kills during McDowell’s first-set win.
Meadville was on the comeback trail during the next two sets. Bulldogs senior Monica Jackson had five kills and Jones had four during the second set, while Meadville dominated the second half of third set after leading 11-9 at one point.
The Bulldogs pressed ahead with a 7-4 lead in the fourth set before they struggled to return the ball during the rest of the set. McDowell was suddenly in front 17-12 and 21-16 before tying the match at 2.
Two kills and a block by Hayes helped McDowell power to a 6-2 advantage, but Meadville trimmed the deficit to 6-5, and the Trojans never led by more than two points after that..
“I think a few of us we getting a little down on ourselves,” McCoy said. “But we had to get up. We all knew that we had to pick each other up.”
Once it was 9-7 McDowell, Meadville limited the Trojans to just one more point.
Jackson and Jones each recorded 18 kills for Meadville. Jones also had a match-best 25 digs and five service aces.
“Leah Jones just picked us apart,” McDowell head coach Jamie Soboleski said. “We tried to switch to rotational defense and I think some of us weren’t comfortable with it.”
Jackson had 20 digs and three aces, Katie Newman provided 43 set assists, and McCoy registered seven kills and a squad-best six blocks.
Mylinda Hartnett (21 digs) and Christy Espy (10 digs) also factored into Meadville’s defensive effort.
For McDowell, Caryn Kopay had 10 digs and seven kills. Leah Vensel mustered 26 assists and six digs, and Ashley Yost tallied 13 digs.
Though passing issues derailed McDowell’s chances, Soboleski was happy with her team’s performance after it was swept 3-0 by Conneaut on Tuesday.
“We were pretty picked apart on Tuesday night,” she said. “It was a vast difference in two days.”
With last Tuesday’s win over General McLane, Meadville went 2-0 over Erie County foes this week. As Region 4 action starts on Tuesday, McCoy is confident the Bulldogs will remain united — no matter the deficit.
“I can’t ask for better teammates,” McCoy said. “I love my team. We’re all really, really close. We just stick together through the rough times and the good times.”