SHOALS – Bedford North Lawrence, caught between the Jug Rox and a hard place, wriggled free from its seven-game losing streak with a thrilling five-set victory over Shoals on Thursday night.
The Stars battled back from a 2-1 deficit in sets to subdue Shoals 22-25, 25-14, 24-26, 25-13, 15-12 as Haley Deckard spurred BNL past its Class A opponent.
Shoals (2-10) played a high-class game, but Deckard had a phenomenal effort with 20 service points, 20 digs and 14 kills. Brynlea Bennett added 10 kills and 8 digs.
“If every player had Haley’s grit from beginning to end, we would be unstoppable,” BNL coach Gabrielle Arthur said. “When she sets her mind, she’s unstoppable. That’s what she did tonight. She had a huge impact.”
Shoals was a tough out, rallying from a 21-20 deficit at the end of the first set and a 23-22 hole in the third. BNL dominated the second and fourth sets, then made a run with Myla Bergman on the service line to finally pull away in the final set.
“It was exciting but a little frustrating,” Arthur said. “It was a roller coaster. I’m really glad we pulled out the win. We were looking for one and needed one.”
Deckard added 5 blocks and 3 aces to her stat-heavy night. Annie Waggoner had 6 kills, 6 digs and 12 assists, Bergman totaled 14 digs and 21 service points, Merritt Callahan totaled 18 points, 16 digs and 13 assists (with 3 aces), and Sydney Gipson added 5 kills, 7 digs and 8 blocks.
“Brynlea had a super aggressive night,” Arthur said. “The first two sets we were lacking someone to put down the ball. Once set 3 came, it was do or die, and she stepped up and was swinging away.
“We’ve had a winning record all season, so tonight was the way we were going to turn the season. We need to make sure.”
Kaydence Sutton had 25 digs, 11 kills and 5 aces, Cheaney Archer added 25 assists, 8 digs and 5 aces, Ellie Roush totaled 18 digs, and Gracie Shaw had 20 digs for the Jug Rox.
The Stars (10-9) will host Bloomington South on Tuesday.