Mayflower – Haylee McGuire powered down a team-high nine kills to lead an early offensive charge while Jaci Braswell and Chloe French each added seven as Mayflower swept Riverview in three thrilling sets (26-24, 25-19, 27-25) for third place outright in the final game of the first round of conference play.
The Lady Eagles (4-3) raced out to several sizable leads only to see Riverview storm back and surge ahead briefly in each set.
Mayflower took control of the first set by building a 13-6 advantage behind Braswell's offense and a little help from the Lady Raiders – who committed a three consecutive return errors during the run – but Riverview would precede to reel off seven consecutive points as three different players got into the act with Abbie Jiles, Brittany Ashcraft and Abby Rhoades all registering kills.
Braswell – the conference’s fifth ranked player in kills - also contributed a couple of outstanding defensive plays that allowed the Lady Eagles to fight back after Riverview took a brief 16-14 lead.
The two schools traded points for the remainder of the opening stanza until Mayflower finally tucked away the set with a kill by McGuire followed by a set clenching ace from French.
“We started the games well but then we would let them run off seven or eight points in a row because we lost our focus.” Mayflower coach Candice Lawless said. “But it was a very big game for us to win because it gives us the third place spot in the conference.”
Currently, Mayflower trails both undefeated Harding Academy and Central Arkansas Christian in the conference standings with seven games remaining.
The Lady Eagles looked like they again would run away and hide from Riverview in the second set by burying Riverview into another 13-6 hole.
But yet again the Lady Raiders dug themselves out with Jiles leading the way to knot the set at 17-17.
Mayflower regained control of the set with Braswell, McGuire, French and setter Autumn Fuller all scored to deliver the Lady Eagles a hard fought set that featured several long rallies between the two squads.
“We just pushed through and got the win.” Braswell said. “We knew we had to win this game.”
Mayflower led 10-3 in third set and had to come from behind to fight off a pair of set points to wrap the match up in three.
After a non-district road match-up in Pinebrook, the Lady Eagles will resume conference play with a rematch at Central Arkansas Christian.