BANGS — The Bangs Lady Dragons suffered from an old-fashioned case of not being able to handle prosperity as their home win streak came to a halt in a five-set loss to the Miles Lady Bulldogs here Tuesday night.
The Lady Dragons thoroughly dominated the first and third sets, but looked completely lost in the second and fourth, which allowed Miles to force a tiebreaking fifth set and snatch the victory.
Miles dropped Bangs’ record to 2-2 officially with its 13-25, 25-15, 12-25, 25-12, 16-14 triumph.
“I think the girls will learn a lot from this game,” said Bangs head coach Adrian Welch. “This is the first time they’ve lost and were really upset about it. Miles is a good team and this definitely wasn’t a bad loss.”
In the deciding set, the Lady Dragons were forced to play catch up as Miles claimed the first two points.
Andrea Evers’ kill pulled Bangs even at 2-all, but Miles reeled off three quick points to build a 5-2 edge.
Following a time out, the Lady Dragons answered with three points of their own as Taylor Beck pushed the ball into a gap in the Lady Bulldogs’ defense, Sarah Bartek delivered a kill and Miles committed an unforced error.
Miles jumped back up, 7-5, before an ace from Beck allowed Bangs to again tie the set at 7-all.
Bangs’ only lead in the tiebreaker came when Miles’ Holly Hudson hit her spike into the net, pushing the Lady Dragons in front, 10-9.
But the Lady Bulldogs took advantage of a pair of Lady Dragon miscues to reclaim the lead, while Karla Glass’ spike made the score 12-10.
Down 14-11, Bangs made one final charge as three straight botched plays by Miles knotted the score at 14-all.
LeCrecia Apple’s dig of a Kelsey Hoffman spike landed out of bounds, however, which gave the lead back to Miles. Glass finished the match with a kill.
“The fifth game, I’m very proud of them because they did dig down,” Welch said. “It’s hard when you’re playing a team that’s just as good as you are. When they get up, they’re up, but you just have to pull through.”
Bangs cruised to a 25-13 win in the opener as several Miles mistakes allowed the Lady Dragons to build a big lead early. Among the highlights were aces by Bartek, Julia Fincher and Jacklyn McKee, along with a block from Evers and kills by Bartek and Fincher.
“The first game we were up, we were ready to play and we were excited to be here,” Welch said. “The second game, I think it was more mental. We got relaxed a little bit because we did beat them pretty bad the first game.”
An ace from Shiloh Morris in the second set gave Bangs its last lead at 7-6 as Miles responded with with 10 of the next 13 points to seize control, 16-10.
Bangs regrouped in the third set as it snapped a 5-all tie with a Beck volley into another hole in the Miles defense, a McKee spike, a Fincher tip and an ace from Beck.
The momentum continued to increase throughout the third set, but the Lady Dragons’ defense fell apart in the fourth set when victory was in their grasp.
“The third game, we stepped back up and got focused,” Welch said. “The fourth game wasn’t mental. Our defense was awful that game. That’s something we’ve got to work on.”
The Lady Dragons will attempt to put this loss behind them as they face Hamilton on Saturday, then visit Brownwood on Tuesday.