SWINK — It was a typical Swink/Fowler volleyball match as the two teams met Thursday at the Lions Den. Both teams were in the Top 10 and the teams were tied for first place in the Santa Fe League.
When it was all finished, the sixth-ranked Lady Lions defeated the 10th-ranked Lady Grizzlies in three sets. The scores were 25-18, 25-21 and 25-23.
"It's always fun to play Fowler," said Swink coach Dee Dee Shiplet. "I knew either team could come out with a victory. But all week we focused on individual skills — passing the ball and serving the ball. I told them that if we do our skills, the win might take care of itself. If not, we get back to the drawing board and keep working."
The first set was even early, but Fowler went out to an 11-6 lead. Swink, however, came back with seven unanswered points and it went in front at 13-11.
The Lady Lions eventually built the lead to 17-13 before the Lady Grizzlies rallied to reduce the deficit to 17-16. But Swink outscored Fowler 8-2 the rest of the way to win the first set 25-18.
The Lady Lions opened the second set by scoring the first four points before the Lady Grizzlies closed to within 4-2. Swink had a 6-4 lead before it went on a 6-3 run to increase the lead to 12-7.
Fowler narrowed the margin to 12-9, but Swink scored four in a row for a 16-9 advantage. The Lady Grizzlies then began chipping at the lead and reduced the Lady Lions' advantage to 20-19.
But Swink finished strong again, this time by scoring five of the final seven points for a 25-21 win.
The Lady Grizzlies took the early lead in the third set at 3-1. After trading sideouts, the Lady Lions went in front at 7-6.
The teams again exchanged possessions before Fowler took a 9-8 lead. Swink would then scored four consecutive points for a 12-9 lead.
The Lady Grizzlies narrowed the margin to 12-11 before the Lady Lions put six unanswered points on the board to increase the lead to 18-11. But Fowler rallied again and reduced the Swink lead to 21-19.
After a brief Swink sideout, Fowler scored four straight points to take a 23-22 lead.
But the Lady Lions scored the final three points to win the set 25-23 and the match 3-0.
The Lady Lions had a balanced hitting attack with Kyla O'Neal and Brooklyn Mueller both with 10 kills. Skyler Jones and Brianna Denton both had seven.
Tierra Holland led in assists with 17 and Jones had 10. O'Neal led in service aces with two and Holland and Rylee Platt both had one.
Fowler's hitting game was led by Izzy Hagerman with 10 kills and Kaitlyn Smith had seven. Isabella Proctor led in assists with 16 and Proctor and Avery Bouldin both had two aces and Tatyanna Bradshaw had one.
Swink (7-1, 6-1 Santa Fe) will host Las Animas next Tuesday and Fowler (6-2, 5-2) will play at Hoehne also next Tuesday.