St. Stephens found itself in a hole Tuesday after a conference match against rival Hickory. The Indians lost the first game 25-23 to the Red Tornadoes, but it rallied to win the next three games and rolled to 3-1 win at home against Hickory.
“All the girls still saw Hickory on the front of the jerseys, then half way through the first game, they said it’s just volleyball,” St. Stephens coach Lauren McLelland said. “They have heart, and that’s something I’m proud of. They have heart.”
The Indians beat the Red Tornadoes 23-25, 25-23, 25-14 and 25-16. St. Stephens improved to 3-1 against the Northwestern 3-A/4-A and 8-6 overall. The loss was Hickory’s first in conference play, now 3-1, and it fell to 5-7 overall.
The Indians jumped out to big leads in two of the final three games. St. Stephens led 5-0 in Game 2 and 7-3 in Game 4. Hickory came back for 15-12 lead in the final game, but St. Stephens went on a 12-1 scoring run to win 25-16.
Two seniors led the Indians to the win. Senior Nicole Hardy, who returned Tuesday after missing two weeks with an ankle injury, had a team-high 16 kills, and Paige Heeke had 14. Both had one block. Abby Foster contributed 37 assists, and Taylor Cummins finished had 38 digs.