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Volleyball: Momentum carries Har-Ber past Van Buren

Volleyball is often a game of momentum.

Tuesday’s match between Har-Ber and Van Buren was back-and-forth all match until the Lady Wildcats finally squeaked out a 25-15, 12-25, 22-25, 25-18, 15-13 win.

Van Buren (6-9, 1-7) lost the first game but came back and won the second and third and seemed to have the momentum. Har-Ber won the critical fourth game to force a fifth and final game and won by a slim two points.

“That has kind of been the story of our season,” Van Buren coach Stephanie Hill. “We played well at times and we played better than we have been. But we just can’t seem to get over that hump.”

Emilee Aaron had 10 kills, Greer Rogers had nine kills and Chole Bauman seven kills for Van Buren.

Van Buren has been struggling in the 7A/6A-West, but Hill still has hopes to get in the 6A State Tournament via the power rankings.

“We can’t sit around and expect to get in,” Hill said. “We’ve got to start winning some of these games, especially these close ones.”

Har-Ber (8-8, 3-5) has also been struggling to win the close ones and it was a confidence boost for the Lady Wildcats.

“Volleyball is crazy like that,” Har-Ber coach Sandy Jones said. “We started out pretty good in that first game, but then here came Van Buren to win those next two. We were hitting long on some big points, but I told them, ‘You’ve gotta stay aggressive.’

“You can’t just sit back and expect to win it.”

Elizabeth Williams led Har-Ber with 19 kills and Jenna Birks and Kim Huff each had 12 kills. Tiffany Ray served up five aces.

With Har-Ber trailing 2-1 in games, Kylie Buttram came up with some big plays to help spark the Lady Wildcats. With the game tied at 17, Birkes put down a kill and then Buttram hustled to keep the ball alive and had back-to-back kills as Har-Ber finished that key game on a 8-0 run.

Sara Davis also had two kills down the stretch.

“Kylie is the most laid-back person you will ever meet off the court,” Jones said. “But she has that fire when we need her.”

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