EASTON — Easton High head volleyball coach Jen Powell wasn’t sure what Warrior team was going to show up for Tuesday’s clash with Queen Anne’s County.
Two hours later, Powell still wasn’t sure.
Down two sets, the Warriors rallied for a 12-25, 23-25, 25-23, 25-14, 15-11 victory that left Easton undefeated and their head coach nearly speechless.
“I don’t even know what to say. There are no words,” Powell said after Easton improved to 3-0 overall, 2-0 North Bayside. “I don’t know who the first two sets were. The last three were more the girls that I know.”
Easton took a 2-1 lead in the first set, but after Queen Anne’s Elyse Tolson put together three straight service winners the Lions (1-2, 1-1) never trailed in the opening game and steadily pulled away en route to a 25-12 victory.
“There was no communication,” Powell said of her team in the first two sets. “They were just kind of blah. It carried over from practice yesterday.”
The Warriors took another early lead in the second game, but again Queen Anne’s rallied. This time though Easton didn’t let the Lions get too far in front in a set that featured nine ties. The Lions broke a 23-all deadlock as Easton served long before Queen Anne’s Autumn Huber’s serve went off the hands of an Easton player out of bounds to seal a 25-23 win and a 2-0 Lions lead.
“Something changed in the third,” Powell said. “They definitely started to pick it up some. It’s a definite plus there for us. Communication started happening. Our feet started moving. The ball started getting up. And we started playing the way we know how to play.”
But Queen Anne’s looked like it was working its way toward a sweep as it built a 6-1 lead on Huber’s service game. The Lions extended their lead to 14-4 and 18-10 before Easton’s Ayden Jiminez went on a service tear, taking the Warriors from an 18-12 deficit to a 19-19 tie.
Back-and-forth play brought the third set to a 23-23 tie, but this time it was Easton that pulled out the win, as the Lions were called for an illegal lift before Allyson Mueller dropped a shot just over the net that Queen Anne’s couldn’t return.
“I think we got nervous,” Queen Anne’s head coach Devin Beattie said. “That’s something we’ve been working on is our confidence, and knowing we’re a good team and have the ability to win. So when a good server gets ball after ball after ball in, we have a hard time getting out of that.”
Easton never trailed in the fourth set. Queen Anne’s trimmed a 22-11 deficit to 22-14, when Powell called timeout to settle her team. The Warriors returned and won the next three points, as the Lions hit a return into the net, Mueller dropped another kill, and Jayden Haddaway sent a serve that wasn’t return, forcing a fifth game.
“The last set, it was a race to five three times,” Powell said. “They beat us to the first one (5-1). And then from there on, they said, ‘All right, we got to get to 10 before they do. We’re a little bit behind. Let’s go.’ They picked it up. They did really well.”
Easton rallied to pull even at 6-6 and 7-7 before Jiminez’s winner gave the Warriors a 10-8 lead. The see-saw play continued until Queen Anne’s was called for a double-hit that ended the match, giving Easton a 15-11 win and the match.
“We just weren’t picking up the balls the way we were in our first two games,” Beattie said. “They just weren’t quite getting them to where our setters needed them to be to get a good attack. So we were doing a lot of back-row attacks that just weren’t as successful.”