Grace Rides Momentum To Win Over Lady Bucs

Megan Long Leads Lady Golden Eagles To 3-1 Win At Boyd-Buchanan

Monday, August 20, 2018 - by James Beach
Grace’s Julianna Hill puts the ball past Boyd’s Skylar Linville.
Grace’s Julianna Hill puts the ball past Boyd’s Skylar Linville.
- photo by M. A. Locke

Volleyball games are often times hinged on one single point late in a match.


Monday night, however, in a hard-fought battle between Division II Class A East foes Grace Baptist Academy and Boyd-Buchanan the turning point happened early in the second game in what eventually became a 3-1 (22-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-16) victory for the visiting Lady Eagles.


Already down a game and tied early in that second game, Grace Baptist won a key point to take a 6-5 lead and never trailed the rest of the way to earn the 25-17 win.


It was a classic point.


A point that saw multiple saves on both sides, a back-and-forth battle that stretched out so long most of the raucous crowd began to wonder if the ball was ever going to touch the floor again.


And when it finally did fall just outside the side line to give Grace the tally, it was the lift the Lady Eagles needed and the gut punch the Lady Bucs could not recover from.


“It got us going. We didn’t play very well in the first game. We didn’t pass it well and 18 of the 25 points they got were the result of our mistakes. When we got in that great battle for that point, the longer it went along it was obvious we didn’t want to lose that point and neither did they. When it finally fell in our favor, it just seemed to get us going,” said Grace outside hitter Megan Long.


“We carried it through the rest of the game and by the time we got to third and fourth games, we were feeling pretty unstoppable at times. We went from tipping and tipping to hitting it like we were capable of. Our passing came together, our sets were there, and the hitters did the rest,” Long added.


“I would say it turned things around,” Grace coach Laurie McGinley admitted.


“We were timid up to that point, but the excitement of winning that point after such a long volley got everyone going. These girls truly love each other, all of them, even the ones on the bench who want to be out there playing, but play such a vital role cheering their teammates on. We just played a lot better after that point.”


After losing the first game when Boyd-Buchanan scored six of the last seven points to rally from a 21-19 deficit, Grace went up 6-5 on the strength of that long volley, reeled off nine of the next 12 points and the Lady Bucs could never make it over the hump.


“This game is such a mental game, and that’s something we talked about after the game. It was a long rally and for some reason when we lost it you could see the girls start to question their abilities and the confidence was gone. We get that way when we lose a point period, but they have to learn to get over it and get back into it immediately. It’s something we are going to have to work on and that’s the mental focus,” said Boyd-Buchanan coach Maggie Brown.


Grace was strong at the net with the likes of hitters such as Long, Julianna Hill, Holley Fulgham and Lainey Barrow. All four took turns doing damage and by the time the third and fourth games rolled around they were in a groove. Libero Victoria Betrous was outstanding defensively for the Lady Eagles, getting up hit after hit to get the offense going and setter Abby McGaughey was precise.


About the only thing that slowed the Lady Eagles’ momentum were some issues with serves in the fourth game in which they had nine service errors. The Lady Bucs also had their share of serving problems which kept them from grabbing any sort of sustained momentum.


In the third game, both squads had runs to get it to 18-all, but Grace closed with seven of the game’s final nine points for the win. That was a blow which carried over into the deciding game in which Grace broke free from a 9-9 tie to close out the match with the 25-16 win.


Long led the big four hitters with her 11 kills for the match and Hill was the best player all-around on the court with a knack for finding open floor on shots and retaliating with stellar defense with a team-high 14 digs.


Boyd-Buchanan got a big first game from Skylar Linville, who had a key block and a kill in the deciding final points. Julie Headrick did her best to stave off the power Grace hitters with 18 digs on the night.



Megan Long 11 kills, 11 digs, 3 aces

Julianna Hill 8 kills, 14 digs, 5 aces

Holley Fulgham 6 kills

Lainey Barrow 5 kills, 1 block

Victoria Betrous 12 digs, 4 aces

Abby McGaughey 30 assists, 3 aces



Julie Headrick 18 digs, 4 kills, 12 assists, 2 aces

Katie Culver 9 digs, 4 kills, 7 assists

Addie Stone 3 digs, 3 kills

Hannalea Massey 1 dig, 1 kill, 5 aces

Zoe Pryor 3 digs, 2 aces

Skylar Linville 2 digs, 5 kills

Madison Taylor 15 digs, 2 kills, 2 assists, 1 ace

Abigail Taylor 9 digs


(Contact James Beach via email at or Twitter @beachnut1134)




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