Branson outscored the Lady Tigers 8-2 down the stretch to eke out a five-set win at Republic Tuesday, 25-10, 19-25, 25-20, 20-25, 16-14.
For the second night in a row, Republic started slowly. The Pirates charged out of the gate early, building a 13-3 lead in the first set and cruising to a 25-10 win. But Republic turned it around in the second set and asserted control around the midway point. From an 11-11 tie, Republic reeled off nine straight on Mykenzie Hicks’s serve. Rilynn Finley made several big plays during that stretch, and the Lady Tigers eventually evened the score.
The teams traded the next two sets, each winning 25-20 – first Branson, then Republic. In the fifth, the Lady Tigers seemed to take control by winning six of seven points and taking a 12-8 lead. But a time out by Branson coach Francie McBride helped the Pirates regain their balance. The Pirates won four straight to tie the game, Republic went back on top 13-12, and Branson won two more to take a 14-13 lead. After a time out by Allison Davis, Republic tied it up before Branson scored two straight to close out the match.
“It was a great game. (I) just wish we were on the winning side,” said Davis. “(I’m) proud of my girls.”
Kailey Manes led Republic in kills (16), blocks (4), and digs (21). Ella Riggs had two service aces and Payge Plank had 39 assists.
Republic falls to 4-6-2 overall. The Lady Tigers are 1-2 in the Central Ozark Conference.
Republic won the JV match 25-23, 23-25, 15-9. The Lady Tigers won the freshman match 25-14, 25-14.