BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
WOODS CROSS – Without the benefit of a preseason schedule, the Woods Cross Wildcats volleyball started the season with four straight wins in Region 6 play.
Against rival Bountiful Tuesday night, Woods Cross extended its streak to five games by downing the Braves in five sets (20-25, 25-20, 21-25, 25-21, 15-9).
Both the Wildcats and Braves traded the first four sets of the match. Bountiful, behind solid setting by Leilani Purcell, was able to take the first set 25-20. In the set, Purcell picked up four assists and two service aces. Kennedy Redding finished the set off with a service ace after a brief comeback by Woods Cross.
Bryli Knell, Woods Cross’ setter, was busy in the second set helping the Wildcats tie the match at one game each. Knell had seven assists in the second set alone, setting up key points by McKenzie Bird, Lexi Lewis and Jessica Jensen, among others.
Knell’s final assist of the set went to Jensen, who picked up the kill to tie the match.
In the third set, a back-and-forth battle ensued without either team leading by more than two points early. After Bountiful slowly built a five point lead at 18-13, Woods Cross came back by scoring four of the next six points.
Down 19-17, the Wildcats were only able to pick up four more points, and trailed 2-1 heading into the fourth set.
After tying the match 2-2 following a 25-21 win in the fourth set, Woods Cross roared to a commanding lead in the deciding set. An opening error by Bountiful allowed Woods Cross to pick up kills in four of the Wildcats’ first eight points. Knell and Lewis combined to hit three service aces, prompting Bountiful to call a time out.
Bountiful went on a scoring streak of its own, getting five of the next six points to reduce the Wildcats’ lead to two points. Jensen ended the run by Bountiful by picking up a kill, and Lindsey Tagge followed with a kill and a 10-6 lead.
Three more kills by Bird and Lewis allowed Woods Cross to finish the set with a 15-9 win, claiming the match.
Woods Cross has now won five matches in a row. Bountiful’s loss was only its second in five region matches.
The Wildcats will travel to Clearfield to face the Falcons, and Bountiful will host East to continue region play. Both matches start at 5:15 p.m.