By Doug Gorman
It couldn't have been scripted any better.
The Jonesboro Lady Cardinals volleyball team traveled to Eagle's Landing Christian Thursday afternoon for a predetermined best-of-five game match, and by the time the dust settled nearly two hours later, fans had gotten their monies worth, as the Lady Chargers came out on top 3- 2.
The Lady Chargers, (21-25, 25-11, 25-18, 15-25, 15-9) ranked No. 5 in the latest gasports'.com Class AA/A coaches' poll, spotted Jonesboro the first game, won the next two, dropped the fourth contest, then put Jonesboro away in the fifth game to win the match.
ELCA has won five of its last six matches and improved its record to 28-8 overall. Jonesboro entered the contest with the Lady Chargers on a seven match winning streak. Last Saturday, the Lady Cardinals captured their eighth-straight Clayton County championship.
Lady Charger coach Jim Barlow is pleased his team had the experience of playing a hard-fought five-game match.
"I am really glad we had a chance to play five games," Barlow said. "I think they wanted to see it go five games, too. Once we get to the playoffs, that's what we will see. A fifth game that only goes to 15 is very different from a 25-point game, and we haven't had a chance to work on that too much yet."
In the fifth and final game of the match, Jonesboro jumped out to a 4-0 lead behind the serving of Desiree Kendrick. The Lady Chargers broke the Lady Cardinals' serve and took control of the match as Rachel Loudermilk helped put ELCA out front with seven straight points.
The Lady Chargers built an 11-5 lead before Jonesboro came back to cut the lead to 11-7, but that's as close as they could get.
"You can throw out that Class A/AA argument," Jonesboro coach Dan Maehlman said. "ELCA is one of the best teams we are going to see all year. We are close to being a really good team, but we just have to find a way to make that pass or make that one kill, and right now we are just not doing that."
Jonesboro won the first game with some late-game heroics from Jennifer Evans and LaQuinta Gallishaw, who came up with timely kills.
ELCA used a 3-0 scorng run late in the game to close the Jonesboro gap to 22-21, but Jonesboro scored the last three points of the contest to win the first contest.
The Lady Chargers regrouped in the second game and went on a series of scoring spurts. Four points in a row from the service of Rachel Tolleson, helped ELCA double the score and go up 18-9.
With the Lady Chagers already up 20-11 later in the match, Kodi Patterson helped ELCA seal the second game of the contest by servng on five straight winners.
More solid serving by Tolleson, Patterson, and Melissa Lipson paced the Lady Chargers to victory in game three. With the win, ELCA took a 2-1 lead in the match.
Jonesboro sent the match to the fifth and deciding game with a vicory in game four.
The Lady Cardinals broke a 14-14 tie and took control of the serve when Chelsea Barry gave her team the lead with a kill.
Shannon then pushed the Lady Cardiinals to a 21-14 lead wth six service winners.
The Lady Chargers picked up one more point before Barry served out the fourth game of the match for Jonesboro.