The Mercer County Titans volleyball team closed with a strong performance in the fifth set to get a victory over the Pulaski County Maroons at Pulaski.
The game was dead even. Mercer took the first, and third sets, while the Maroons won the second and fourth. The Titans opened up the final set with an 8-2 run to shift the momentum heavily in their favor.
Senior Peyton Randolph got a pair of kills, and Nakay Murray added another to try and dig into the Mercer lead, but the Titans were already so close to victor.
An error on the Maroons closed the set with the Titans on top 15-9, and they emerged as victors after a hard-fought battle.
"I think we had periods of time where we did things well, but I just don't think we had the energy in the fifth set to withstand," said Pulaski County head coach Teresa Combs. "It's senior night and that's an emotional night. Lots of things go on but Mercer County is a good team and they scrapped, and they fought. If balls were going over, they were playing them. We've got to be able to withstand long rallies and be able to terminate the ball."
Although the Maroon's senior night did not finish with a victory, the team was incredibly proud of and happy for their nine seniors (Kaitlyn Combs, NaKay Murray, Jazmyn Oakes, Bailey Putteet, Peyton Randolph, Emily Simpson, Erinn Speaks, Madison Vacca, and Allee Wesley) and there were plenty of smiles even after a hard fought loss.
The game was a battle from the very start. The teams traded back and forth until the end of the first set where the Titans were on top 25-22.
The Maroons did not let the first set loss get to their heads. They forced multiple Mercer errors and Randolph racked up the kills throughout the second to help Pulaski to a 25-19 set win.
The Titans had a good start to the third set, but just when they began to get a lead, junior Molli Nelson gave them a ton of trouble with some wicked serves to put the Maroons right back in it.
Like the first set, Mercer County pulled through a back and forth set and won it 25-22.
Pulaski opened the fourth set with a 6-1 run to give them the upper hand in the fourth set. The Titans tried to come back from a rough, but Randolph racked up the kills and helped the Maroons stay a safe distance from the Titans and they took the set 25-17.
The first set win that allowed Mercer to escape with a victory gave the Titans a 12-5 record on the season. The Maroons fell to 15-9 and they will be back in action at home Thursday night where they will face off with the Marion County Knights.