Hoping to get the most out of their rivalry match last Thursday, the Cedartown and Rockmart varsity volleyball teams agreed to play a best-of-five match instead of the more common best-of-three format.
Both programs fought to the final point of each and every set, and when the smoke had cleared it was the Lady Bulldogs who managed to deny Rockmart’s comeback bid.
After holding on to win the first two sets 25-19, 25-23, Cedartown lost the next two as Rockmart used a 14-0 run at the end of the third set to gather momentum and take two from the visiting squad, forcing a fifth and final set.
But the Lady Bulldogs built an early lead in the deciding set on the way to win 15-9 and claim victory in the non-area contest.
The entire match was a back-and-forth battle that saw each team have their moments in each set.
The opening set started off with Cedartown getting in a groove first as the Lady Bulldogs got some solid serving and net play from Ansley Dulaney to lead 17-6. But Rockmart retaliated, with Jenna Rose Freeman highlighting the forward play in a 9-3 run that got the Lady Jackets within three of the lead, 22-19.
Cedartown (7-5) picked up the final three points to take the set.
The two teams played the closest set of the evening next as several players contributed to a grudge match that saw the score tied at 23-23 before an unforced error by Rockmart gave Cedartown the opportunity to score set point and move to within one set win away from victory.
But Rockmart (5-11-1) regrouped and, even though the Lady Jackets trailed 20-8 at one point, roared back into the fray and took the set 25-22. Megan Clanton made some key plays at the net for the home team, while Alexa Pope served the 14-point streak that sealed the set.
Rockmart stayed in control for most of the fourth set, gaining an 11-7 advantage after a 7-7 tie and going on an 8-3 run to end the set and win 25-17.
Kendal Pace stepped up for the Lady Bulldogs in the final set, however, and Cedartown built a 12-6 lead that would be too much for Rockmart to overcome.
Rockmart will travel to Carrollton on Wednesday, Sept. 8, to take on Central-Carroll and Chapel Hill, while Cedartown is back in action Thursday at Coosa. Both teams are scheduled to play in the Battle of the Counties tournament Saturday at Rome High School.