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INDEPENDENCE –– After holding off Richlands for a tight win in the first set, Grayson County gathered momentum the rest of the way and swept a Conference 39 match from the Blue Tornado, 25-21, 25-16, 25-18 Monday night.
The Blue Devils improved to 12-2 on the year with the nondistrict win while Richlands saw its record drop to 12-8.
Neither team could put any distance between itself and the other through the first set, with Richlands and Grayson County swapping the lead three times and sharing it on six other instances until the Blue Devils pulled out to a 12-9 advantage on a Camryn McGrady kill and an ace by Emily Hart.
McGrady and the Blue Tornado’s Mac Cordill traded kills and Richlands stayed within two points of Grayson until the Blue Devils took control with a 5-0 run on three Richlands errors, a Mary Meier kill and a Taylor Cannaday dig that cleared the net and found a hole in the Blue Tornado side of the floor.
Trailing 21-14, Richlands claimed six of the next seven points, including three Cordill smashes, to climb back to within 22-20, but two Tornado errors and a Cannaday tip gave Grayson County the first set.
Autumn Halsey’s push was followed by a Cannaday ace and then winners by Cannaday and Jenna Holdaway as the Blue Devils rallied into the lead with five unanswered points early in the second set. Back-to-back blocks by McGrady sparked a four-point spurt, and Grayson zoomed into a 20-10 lead with a 5-0 run highlighted by Emily Lindsey’s ace, easily winning the second set.
As in the first set, Richlands stayed with Grayson County until the Blue Devils pulled away late in the third to complete the sweep. The two teams battled back and forth through nine ties and five lead changes until a Tornado kill into the net put Grayson in front to stay, 17-16. Meier scored with a cross-court push, followed by winners from Lindsey and Holdaway as part of a clinching 7-1 rally.
McGrady finished with 11 kills and Holdaway put down six more for Grayson, which is off the rest of the week. Cordill had eight kills and 21 digs for Richlands.