MAYFIELD - It was a championship caliber volleyball match Wednesday at Mayfield High School.
The top two teams in the Western Athletic Conference North Division, Galway and Mayfield, squared off with the with the title on the line.
The teams fought through five grueling games, with Galway holding on in the fifth and decisive game to claim the WAC North title.
Mayfield’s Kaylee Bumpus (4) drives the ball over the net as Galway’s Rachel Jones (3) goes up in an attempt to block the play during Wednesday’s Western Athletic Conference match at Mayfield High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
The Golden Eagles (9-1) defeated Mayfield (9-2) on game scores of 24-26, 25-22, 25-21, 22-25 and 25-23.
"They played well and played a good solid game," Mayfield coach Eileen Rovito said of her Lady Panthers. "They were consistent and played at their level. They played as a team and never gave up. We are excited that we may face them again in the WAC tournament for bragging rights maybe. We will work on that. They came prepared and I am very proud of them."
Rachel Sherman served Galway out to an early 10-3 advantage in the first game before Mayfield rallied back behind an eight-point service run from Kaylee Bumpus to take a 11-10 lead.
The Lady Panthers put together short service runs and quick side-outs to extend their lead to 22-16.
The Eagles fought back with runs from Rachel Jones and Brittany Orminski to tie the game at 24 before Mayfield earned a side out and Bumpus smashed home a kill to take the opening game 26-24.
Galway again sprinted out to an early advantage in game two before the Lady Panthers tied the game at nine apiece.
Neither team could break away until the Golden Eagles got another burst from Orminski at the service line to tie the match at one game apiece with a 25-22 victory.
Mayfield again found itself in an early hole in game three but was able to claw its way back into contention on strong kills from Bumpus, Kiera Davis and Jordan Marshall.
The kills came harder for both teams as the defenses scrambled to keep the ball off the floor with diving digs and hustling to cover redirected blocked attempts.
However, the Golden Eagles prevailed to take a 2-1 edge in games with the 25-21 victory.
Game four followed the same scenario with Emily Orminski serving Galway out to a 5-0 lead. A service run from Miranda Eagan and back-to-back kills from Bumpus and Marshall put the Panthers ahead 7-6.
The Golden Eagles fought back to build a four-point advantage before the teams tied the game at 21 apiece.
With Mackenzie Biggers on the line and a pair of hard drives from Marshall, the Lady Panthers pulled out the 25-22 win to send the match into a fifth game deadlocked at two games apiece.
Galway held the lead at the side change and used an eight-point service run from Emily Orminski to build an 18-10 advantage.
The Lady Panthers were not ready to concede the match and with the help of a 10-point run from Davis came all the way back to tie the game at 20.
The game went to 23-23 before Galway earned a point off a wide Mayfield return and Sherman drove a hard shot off the block of Miranda Eagan that found its way to the floor for the decisive point in the 25-23 set to claim the match victory.
"All I can say is wow what a great match," Galway coach Flinton said. "It is a game of momentum and anything can go. You get one server on a run and it can chip away at your score. That is all it takes."
Emily Orminski led Galway with 25 service points, five aces, six kills, two blocks and 10 digs. Jones finished with nine points, 12 kills, five blocks and six digs, while Brittany Orminski had nine points, four aces, seven kills and nine digs and Emily Zawisa contributed nine kills, seven points and four digs.
In the match, the Lady Panthers fell behind early in each game but were able to recover. Something coach Rovito said they were unable to do in the first meeting between the teams.
"That is what we talked about," she said. "Last time we played them when we got behind we couldn't do much with it. Today we had three very good comebacks."
Marshall finished the match with 14 kills, five blocks, eight points and eight digs for the Lady Panthers. Bumpus added 13 kills, five blocks and 20 points, while Miranda Eagan chipped in with six kills, six blocks and 14 assists. Davis had 12 points, Biggers finished with 21 assists and eight points, while Bailey Ward finished with six kills and Bri Eagan had nine digs.