The Transylvania Times -

Brevard Holds Off Franklin In Gritty Conference Victory - Brevard, NC

 

October 9, 2017

Courtesy Photo

Ashton Pogue

You can't say the Brevard Lady Blue Devils didn't earn it last Thursday night.

In a hotly contested match against Franklin, and missing one of their offensive leaders, Brevard limited their mistakes and came up with plays in key moments on the way to a thrilling five-set victory over the Panthers.

The win forced the Lady Blue Devils to the brink, as Franklin took a 15-14 lead in the fifth set, but Brevard rallied for three straight points to earn the the win.

It was an impressive win in its own right, but even more impressive considering Brevard did it without their leading scorer, Madison Baldridge, who was sidelined with an ankle injury.

Head Coach Cori Bryson said after the match the big takeaway from her was seeing the resiliency of her team, as well as having several players step up on the offensive side.

"Tonight really showed me the depth of this team and the desire of this team. We've been so inconsistent and to finally get a win like this when we needed it is huge," Bryson said.

Brevard started slow out of the gate in the first set, allowing Franklin to build a comfortable 15-8 lead.

A block from Ashton Pogue got Brevard within four at 16-12, but that was as close as it would get as Franklin took the set 25-18.

But the Lady Devils looked like a different team in the second set, flipping the script and taking a 4-1 lead after a kill from Pogue.

Franklin came back to tie it up at 4 apiece, but Brevard took back the lead at 8-4 behind a kill from Maddie Hall.

With the score 13-9, Franklin came back to tie things up once again before Maddie Monteith put Brevard back in front 14-13.

From there, Brevard did just enough to maintain a slight advantage down the stretch, ultimately winning the set 25-22.

The Lady Blue Devils were even more dominant in set three, taking a 10-4 lead that swelled to 19-8.

But Franklin responded with a 10-3 run to cut the score to 22-18.

It wouldn't be enough, however, as Brevard held its composure and closed out the set 25-21 to take a 2-1 lead.

In the fourth set, Brevard got down early and had to claw their way back.

With the score 13-8, Franklin, the Lady Blue Devils put together a 7-2 run to tie the match at 15 before an ace from Makayla Foster gave Brevard a 16-15 lead.

The rest of the match was back-and-forth, with neither side gaining more than a two-point margin.

The two sides fought to tie scores at 17, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23 points.

But with the score knotted at 23, Franklin got the final two points they needed to win the set and extend the match.

The drama was high in set five, with the match taking on a playoff-like atmosphere.

Brevard took an early 3-1 lead and increased their advantage to 5-2 moments later.

Once again, however, Franklin came back to tie things up at 5-5.

Hall came through with a couple of big kills in the next few points to keep the Lady Blue Devils ahead 7-6.

A kill from Kaitlyn Pressley and a block at the net a few points later maintained Brevard's two-point lead at 10-8.

With the score 12-11, Brevard scored two straight points to put them on the edge of victory.

But just when it seemed that victory was at hand, Franklin came back to tie the match at 14 before scoring their fourth straight point to put Brevard one point away from a crushing loss.

Bryson called a timeout to relax her side and coming out of the break, Pressley responded with a huge kill to stave off defeat.

After a Franklin miscue on the following point put Brevard up 16-15, Brooklyn Rising put things to bed with a kill to give the Lady Blue Devils the 17-15 win.

Pogue came up with a huge night for Brevard, logging a career-high 17 kills to pace the offense.

Rising had 10 kills and 14 blocks, while Pressley had seven kills and a team-high 25 assists.

The Lady Blue Devils were stout on defense, as well, with Hannah Cabe finishing with 22 digs.

Caroline Pace, Taylor Miner, Foster and Rising all had more than 10 digs.

When Brevard faced Franklin on the road last month, it was the Panthers that came away with a 3-2 win. This time, the Lady Blue Devils would not be denied.

Brevard was able to get past a shaky start to play solid on offense and defense over the final four sets.

Bryson said once her team got past their early struggles and got into their groove, they gained confidence and performed much better down the stretch.

"When we get down early it's hard for us to come back. We kind of count ourselves out. In the second and third set, when we came out on top and led most of the set, that was the biggest difference for us," Bryson said.

As for Baldridge, Bryson said her star hitter was resting her ankle and is hoping she can get back in the lineup at some point this week.

Courtesy Photo

Maddie Hall

In the meantime, her absence provided a stage for players like Pogue and Hall to step up and they took full advantage, coming up with big kills at key moments to lead Brevard to victory.

"All of my hitters really stepped up tonight. Ashton really turned it on tonight. Maddie (Monteith) also played big in a new spot that she hadn't played all season. It really shows the quality of the depth on our team," Bryson said.

With the win, Brevard's record improved to 6-10 and they moved into second place in the Mountain Six standings at 4-3.

The Lady Blue Devils have three matches this week: on the road Tuesday at Smoky Mountain, on the road Wednesday at Asheville Christian and at home Thursday against conference-leader Hendersonville.

 
 

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