Times Sports Editor
Fans of North Clay and Clay City junior high volleyball each had reason to go home happy after the annual inter-county battle on Monday night.
The Knights' seventh-grade team continued to add wins by knocking off the Eels, 25-16, 25-15 while the Clay City eighth-grade came away with an emotional victory, 25-21, 16-25, 15-14.
The eighth-grade Eels scored a victory in the opening game before the Knights got untracked to take game two, but the third game went to the wire.
Clay City led most of the way in the final game, taking a 12-8 lead after a North Clay serve went wide. But the Eels couldn't take advantage of the service error, committing one of their own to narrow the gap to three at 12-9.
North Clay's Alexus Bex stepped to the line and served to the backline for an opening ace and Courtney Maccarone's block got the Knights within a point.
Clay City's Haleigh Cannon found the net on the next point to knot the score before Bex rallied the Knights to the lead with back-to-back aces to draw a timeout from the Eels.
The break was key for the Eels as Bex' next serve went long as North Clay had swung momentum with a 14-13 lead.
With the next point set to decide the match, Clay City's Hallie Brewer served up the winning point and a one-point victory for the Eels.
Game one was highlighted by the Eels' Callie Dayhuff blasting out four early points to give Clay City an 8-4 lead. Chloe Kittle added a kill in the middle of the game and alter served up several late points in a 25-21 lead.
Game two saw the Knights even the match as Riddell had a pair of kills that gave North Clay a sizable 20-11 lead. Several late Clay City errors gave North Clay the boost they needed to tie the match at a game apiece setting up the final game dramatics.
In the seventh-grade match, North Clay jumped out early as Leslie Ringo got the service game going and a Jade Mills tip gave the Knights an 11-3 lead.
But the Eels bounced back on the service of Sidnie Crowley, who propelled the Eels back within 11-8. North Clay's Katie Girton and Mills served the Knights out to 21-14.
Emily Sands served out an ace for the Knights to cap the game one victory.
In the second game, Shelbi Morris' kill gave the Knights a sideout and her back-to-back aces sparked the Knights into the lead, 10-5.
Lorrie LaTourette then stepped up to serve out five straight North Clay points for an 18-8 lead the Knights wouldn't relinquish.
Michaela Hayden helped get the Eels within 23-19 late, but the Knights' Jami Warner served out the last couple of points for the victory.
North Clay's volleyball teams are back in action on Wednesday with a trip to Riverton Parke at 6 p.m. while the Eels are off until Monday when they host Sullivan at 6 p.m.
At North Clay
Next match: North Clay visits Riverton Parke on Wednesday at 6 p.m. and the Eels host Sullivan on Oct. 6.