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Lady Barons volleyball holds on to beat Ben Lippen 3-2

BY J. SCOTT SEWELL jscott@theitem.com
Posted 9/13/19

Wilson Hall's varsity volleyball team won its fifth straight match on Thursday, improving to 10-4 on the season with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Ben Lippen at Nash Student Center.

Wilson Hall took the first two sets and looked as though it would …

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Lady Barons volleyball holds on to beat Ben Lippen 3-2

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Wilson Hall's varsity volleyball team won its fifth straight match on Thursday, improving to 10-4 on the season with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Ben Lippen at Nash Student Center.

Wilson Hall took the first two sets and looked as though it would easily sweep the Falcons. However, Ben Lippen came roaring back to win sets 3 and 4 and ultimately force a decisive fifth set.

It was a special game for the Lady Barons, who were clad in teal #stephaniestrong t-shirts in support of Stephanie Champion, the mother of junior Hayley Champion, who has been undergoing chemotherapy and is scheduled for surgery next week.

"We wanted to do something to show our support for her and just let her know we're here for her," said Wilson Hall head coach Rip Ripley. "We preach family a lot here, and we want Stephanie to not only know we're here for her but also for Hayley as well."

The Lady Barons won the first set 25-19 and the second set 25-21 before the Lady Falcons began their comeback.

Ben Lippen scored the first five points in the third set and led the whole way to a 25-16 victory. The Falcons led 16-10 in the fourth set when Wilson Hall began a comeback of its own. The Lady Barons scored 10 of the next 12 points to take a 20-18 lead. Ben Lippen then responded with a 7-3 run to win the set 25-23.

"They're a very good team," said Ripley. "They were top five in the state last year, and they only lost one player. We talked about it early on, that we need to be ready for a battle."

BL dominated early in the fifth set, jumping out to a 5-1 advantage. Wilson Hall responded with a 4-point run to tie the set 5-5. Ben Lippen then led 8-6, and seemed to be gaining momentum when it scored a ninth point. However, a protest from Wilson Hall over whether or not the ball had actually hit the ground during the point resulted in the referees conferring and ultimately reversing their call and replaying the point.

The Lady Barons won the point this time, and what was once a 9-6 lead was now just 8-7. The teams exchanged leads over the final points until Wilson Hall finally got their game winner from junior Gracyn Coker for the 15-13 set victory.

Coker finished with 10 kills, and two digs on the night.

"Getting a win like that today was huge, and I think it showed us a little bit about ourselves," said Ripley. "You always find out a little bit about yourselves in a tough situation and we had that a couple of times today. I thought we fought through it and did a good job. Credit to Ben Lippen; they did a great job. It was a great match. It was what we expected."

Sophomore Lucy Matthews led the way offensively with 11 kills, three aces and 16 digs. Andi Grae Wingate added nine kills and seven digs. Junior Camryn Bateman dished out 17 assists, while junior Madison Deschamps notched 14 assists.