By JASON GORDON
Just when it looked like Boerne Champion was down and out the Lady Chargers came thundering back.
Champion turned a match that looked destined to be a Hays sweep into a five-set defeat for the Lady Rebs Tuesday night at Bales Gym.
Campion charged from a two-set deficit to a 17-25, 23-25, 25-22, 27-25, 15-13 victory.
“It does hurt because we came so close to winning,” said Hays senior Courtney Willcox. “It hurts even more because the loss came in our own gym. It was a good fight that just didn’t go our way.”
Hays and Boerne Champion are getting used to seeing each other with important things at stake.
In 2010, Champion beat Hays in the bi-district playoffs. Last season, the Lady Rebs knocked off the Lady Chargers in the same round of the postseason.
Earlier this season when Champion was ranked No. 2 in the state in Class 4A polls, Hays beat the Lady Chargers in four sets.
“It seems like we face them way too often,” said Champion head coach Troy Errington. “We always know we’re going to be in for a tough match.”
Errington told his team in between the second and third sets to make something happen to change the home team’s surge.
“Momentum’s a funny thing,” Errington said. “We hadn’t really put any pressure on them in those first two sets. When we finally did in the third set, things started to go our way.”
Hays (23-15, 8-2 27-4A) still looked like it was going to put the match away in the fourth set.
The Lady Rebels trailed 10-4 early on in set four, but rallied behind four straight Sydney Paradeaux kills to take an 18-15 lead.
Hays had match point at 24-23 a Lady Rebel error knotted the score 24 all.
A kill by Champion’s Claire Kreuz gave the Lady Chargers a 26-25 lead. Champion sent the game into a fifth set when another Hays error on a kill attempt gave the Lady Chargers (28-7, 9-1) the fourth-set win.
Hays led 11-8 in the race to 15 points in set five, but three straight Kelsey Lemmons kills tied the score at 12 and a Claire Kreuz kill ended the match.
With the defeat, Hays fell out of a tie for first place in district play.
“It was a pretty tough loss,” Hays head coach Erica Walther said. “We played great at times and at times things didn’t go our way. I have no doubt we will rebound from this and regain momentum heading into the playoffs.”
Paradeaux had 29 kills, Natalie Valdez added 13 kills and Ramsey had 11 kills for Hays, while Kathryn Wristen had 50 assists for the Lady Rebs. Kreuz led Champion with 21 kills and 21 assists.