In a match that ultimately took all five sets to decide, the Raiders were able to overcome their early deficit to topple the Cougars
Just days removed from the annual Redman Cup matchup between the football teams for Durant and Plant City, fans, parents and students flocked to a crowded Plant City High School gymnasium on Tuesday as the Raiders volleyball team hosted Durant in another meeting between the two schools.
Plant City scored the first two points of the first set on serves from Jaime Straily before Durant was able to get on the board and move the set to 2-1. A kill from the Raiders’ Olivia Dennis put the Raiders up 3-1 but Durant quickly rebounded to knot the set up at 4-4 a few points later. Three consecutive points put the Raiders back up 7-4 and Durant once again put together a rally of their own to tie the contest at 8-8 before taking their first lead of the match and then some, moving out to an 11-9 advantage. In what proved a razor thin contest, Plant City went point-for-point with the Cougars to put themselves back on top at 12-11 before Durant began taking control of the set. Scoring seven of the next 10 points, Durant built a 19-14 lead in the set before the Raiders rallied back to just a one-point deficit at 22-21, but the Cougars would ultimately hold on to take the first set 25-21.
The two teams once again battled it out in the early stages of the second set, going point-for-point to the tune of a 9-8 advantage for the Raiders before Plant City found their rhythm and controlled the set as they built what appeared to be a commanding lead at 19-14, but a strong Durant run coming out of their timeout left the Raiders clinging to just a one-point lead at 21-20. Despite the valiant effort to claw their way back into the second set, the Raiders managed to rattle off the next four points to tie the match at 1-1 with a 25-20 win in the second set.
The third set was all Durant as the Cougars quickly raced out to a 6-0 lead before Plant City was able to end the run at 6-1 coming out of a timeout, but Durant continued to rally en route to a 9-2 lead. The Raiders were able to stay in the set for a period, scoring four of the next seven points in the set to trail 12-6, but a seven-point run from the Cougars put them out in front 19-7 before taking a 2-1 match lead with a 25-11 victory in the third set.
And in the fourth set, it appeared that Durant would continue their strong run as they once again jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead, but Plant City would fire back with a four-point run of their own. Durant would continue to pull back in front, immediately rattling off four consecutive points to go up 10-4, but the Raiders refused to roll over as they scored six of the next eight points in the set to knot the contest at 12-12 and take their first lead since the second set at 14-13. With no clear advantage to either side, the two rivals remained neck-and-neck as Durant pulled ahead 24-23 late in the set— sitting just one point away from taking the set and claiming a 3-1 victory on the night — but Plant City was resilient, scoring back-to-back points to take a 25-24 lead and force a win-by-two scenario. Durant scored the next point to tie it at 25-25 and were repeatedly forced to claw back as the Raiders continued to score themselves, with Plant City taking a 26-25 lead and a 27-26 lead before the Cougars managed to bring the game level each time. But in a game where the Raiders found themselves just one point away from defeat a few minutes prior, Plant City finally notched consecutive points to take a 29-27 victory in the fourth set and force a fifth and final set to 15.
Continuing their trend of strong starts, Durant took a 4-1 lead to open the fifth set before Plant City went on a run of their own to claim a 7-6 lead. And despite Durant taking a crucial 11-10 lead late, the Raiders were able to outscore the Cougars 5-1 over the game’s final six points to complete the incredible comeback, securing the the 3-2 win with a 15-12 victory in the fifth set.
The win moves Plant City to 6-2 while Durant fell to 4-3 in their regular season slate. Later in the week, Plant City will make their way to 4-5 Freedom on Thursday while Durant is set to host 2-4 Armwood.