Chelsea’s season ends in 5-set area tourney loss to Homewood

By SETH HAGAN | Special to the Reporter

MOUNTAIN BROOK – It was apparent from the get-go that the area tournament match between the Chelsea Hornets and the Homewood Patriots would go the distance, and that’s exactly what happened at Mountain Brook High School on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

The teams traded sets until the fifth and final set saw Homewood pull away to win the match 3-2 (16-25, 25-14, 22-25, 25-23, 4-15) to lock in a spot in the playoffs and end Chelsea’s season short of a postseason spot.

It also didn’t help that the Hornets were without one of their top stars in Emma Pohlman, who was forced to miss the match due to contact tracing.

But early on, the Hornets looked to be in good shape despite her absence.

With a 25-16 win for the Hornets and 25-14 win for the Patriots in the first two sets, each team dominated their first wins of the night.

The Hornets jumped out to a 6-1 lead and never let the Patriots get closer than two the rest of the way in the opening set. Lauren Buchanan was huge in the first set with two kills and two aces and Mackenzie Pierce adding three kills.

Homewood took their first lead at 4-3 in the second set and slowly grew their lead from there. Errors plagued the Hornets in the set and the Patriots finished the set with a 13-6 run fueled by much improved play at the net and multiple blocks.

Chelsea turned to senior Hope Wright needing a win in the third set and she came up big late. The Hornets built a 16-12 lead with aces from three different players and four kills from Amaya Rudolph.

Homewood responded with eight straight points, but Wright stepped up. The outside hitter got all three kills after points from Homewood plus an ace to steal the momentum back and take the set.

The Patriots, on the brink of elimination, played clutch volleyball in the fourth set mounting a 10-5 run to start. Chelsea battled back to tie the game at 13–one of six ties in the set.

Homewood went up again with a 19-15 lead, but again the Hornets pushed for the match win tying it at 21 and 22. However, the Patriots made more plays late and took the marathon set to avoid elimination and even the match at 2-2.

By the fifth set it was clear Homewood was ready for the kill. Errors and execution lacked late for Chelsea as fatigue began to finally set in. The Patriots used a 12-2 run to steal away early confidence, which the Hornets never could overcome. Homewood went on to put the game to rest and advance with a 15-4 victory in the tiebreaker to claim the 3-2 win.

The Hornets finished the season with more than 30 wins yet again with a record of 33-12, but came up short of another deep postseason run.