Arlington Martin jumped out to an early lead Tuesday night before a young Richland team started to find some late rhythm.
Despite three rallies in the deciding final set, the Rebels succumbed to Martin 25-20, 25-20, 26-24 at Richland’s gym in the season opener for both teams.
For Martin coach Tracy Perez-Petersen, the win quelled some preseason jitters and sends the Warriors to this week’s Mansfield Rotary Club Tournament on the right footing.
“I just wasn’t sure about our communication and how well we’d play defense,” she said. “For game openers, I couldn’t feel better about how they maintained things.”
After decisive wins in the first two games, Martin kept at it in Game 3.
Senior Bridgett Jebsen had 11 kills for the Warriors and Eden Hilbert had 10.
Richland, which graduated five seniors from last season, finally got some shots to fall and its young offense began to build some confidence.
The Rebels had leads of 7-4 and 15-13 before falling behind and needing one more rally to extend the match.
Jenna Jones sent a cross-court shot past Martin defenders to tie the game at 23.
She also evened the game at 24-24 before the Warriors finally put it away with a kill by setter Claire Schwettmann and a scoring block by Hannah Gerzsenyi.
“You know we got behind early but really made up some ground there at the end,” Richland coach Cassie Underwood said. “We found a hitting lineup that worked there and started to play in the system. You could see them getting more confidence as that last set wore on.”
Jones led the Rebels with 13 kills.
“I think Richland just played really well there at the end and I thought we made some good adjustments for that,” Perez-Petersen said.