AP NEWS

No. 2 Chargers rally past Cougarettes

August 29, 2018

Churchill junior Isabel Fichtel gingerly pulled herself up from the court, fearing the worst. She tweaked her left ankle early in the second set after landing on someone’s foot — the same ankle she twisted during the club season in January, sidelining her for more than a month.

With the start of district play just around the corner, Fichtel could have erred on the side of caution and taken the rest of the night off. She instead wanted to play.

She didn’t regret her choice.

Fichtel had a crucial role late as No. 2 Churchill rallied to edge No. 8 New Braunfels Canyon 24-26, 20-25, 26-24, 25-21, 20-18 in a two-hour slugfest at Littleton Gym.

The Chargers (19-6) fought off six match points in the final set and seven overall to prevail. Fichtel had back-to-back kills with her team trailing 14-12 in the final set, erasing two match points in the process.

Churchill eliminated four more match points before winning on a kill from senior outside hitter Caroline Meuth.

“We used every bit of our emotions,” Fichtel said. “We’re all very tired right now, but it was definitely worth it.”

Churchill regrouped after dropping the first two sets — it held late advantages in both — to secure the third and fourth frames and force a decisive fifth set. The Chargers erased a match point trailing 24-23 in the third set as junior outside hitter Lourdes Gomez had a kill and teamed with junior middle blocker Briana Billie for back-to-back blocks to highlight a 3-0 closing run.

The comeback was a prevailing chord for a match in which both teams struggled throughout to maintain leads.

“We definitely got in our heads a lot after that first set,” Fichtel said. “We got down on ourselves, but we came together and figured it out.”

Canyon (20-10) looked as if it would sustain the momentum. The Cougarettes rallied from an early six-point deficit to capture the opening set, then used another late surge in the second stanza, tallying eight of the final 10 points behind the play of sophomore setter Erin Jones and junior middle blocker Angel Jones to prevail.

tthomas@express-news.net

Twitter: @en_terrence

AP RADIO
Update hourly