MONTPELIER — For most of Thursday night, Montpelier found itself behind on the scoreboard.
In each set, Hilltop jumped out to a lead, sometimes a significant one, and looked to be in control.
But the Locomotives rallied for a set win every time over Hilltop en route to a 3-0 win, 25-21, 25-21, 25-20, on Senior Night. Montpelier trailed in each of the three sets, including a 14-7 deficit in the third, but pulled away each time to end the regular season on a high note.
“Our M.O. all season has been to win the first set, then lose because we just are content,” Montpelier coach Khrysta Coleman said. “Tonight, they finally weren’t content with winning that first set. We fought the whole time. We’d get down and we’d fight back every set.”
It was a reversal from the matchup on Sept. 18, when Montpelier won the first set but lost the final three. This time, the Locos rebounded.
“We have been really good about coming back, we’ve done it a few times this season,” Coleman said. “Hopefully this translates into tournaments.”
Hilltop jumped out to set leads deep into each set, but each time wasn’t able to hold the lead as Montpelier stormed back each time.
The Locos, coming off of a 3-2 win over Stryker, felt confident throughout the night, according to Coleman. That win and the following comebacks were a result of that confidence and momentum that Montpelier had gained.
“They did a nice job adapting to what we were trying to do tonight and then we didn’t adapt to do something different based on what they were leaving on the floor for us to go after,” Hilltop coach Janice Bruner said. “Give them credit, they played well, they passed well, they moved well.”
The Cadets did their best to thwart a Locos rally, though, led by Kendall Roth and Taryn Grant who led the team with seven and six kills, respectively.
They were dealt a blow in the first set, however, when Mady Underwood, a key piece of Hilltop’s front line, left briefly with an injury. She later returned, but by that point Montpelier had gained control of that set. She would finish with seven assists.
Yet, the night simply came down to the fact that Montpelier played a complete game throughout. Each time the Locos had to rally, they did. Ultimately, in a tight match, that was the difference.
“I thought Montpelier played a nice game,” Bruner said. “They did a better job passing than the first time we played them, they kept the ball in play and kept the pressure on us.”
Montpelier was led by Jaelyn Lyons, who had eight kills and two blocks. Rheanna Stoy added 38 digs and three aces.