Keith MacPherson, Sports Editor
Gainesville Daily Register
GAINESVILLE — It wasn’t easy but the Lady Leopards got it done.
Gainesville overcame a two-set comeback by Sanger to beat the Lady Indians 25-17, 25-22, 21-25, 22-25, 15-11 in a District 9-3A matchup between the two longtime rivals.
The Lady Leopards (28-7, 2-1) were four points away from a sweep in the third set with a four point lead before the Lady Indians rallied for eight consecutive points to continue the closely contested match.
Sanger (1-2 in District 9-3A play) carried the momentum from the third set into the next two sets, outscoring the Lady Leopards 50-43 in the process.
The crucial final set was all Lady Leopards as they jumped out to a 10-3 lead, thanks in large part by four straight service points from Kiarah Manuel.
The win keeps the Lady Leopards undefeated at home with an 11-0 record on the season.
Manuel led the Lady Leopards with nine kills and a block. Ariannah Kemp had seven blocks and eight kills.
Gainesville controlled the game from the outset. The Lady Leopards never trailed in the first set, taking a five point lead midway through the stanza on a point from Zhanice Lane.
Sanger committed four consecutive errors to close out the first set to give the Lady Leopards a 25-17 win.
The second set was a bit more contested. Sanger took a 12-10 lead before Leopard coach Laura Mehl took a timeout.
Following the timeout, Lane helped the Lady Leopards to three consecutive service points, including an ace to reclaim the lead.
Gainesville would continue to rally, taking a four point lead late in
the set on a Brittany Royal kill that made it 22-18.
Gainesville will host Krum at 5 p.m. Friday.