CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman Lady Bearcats returned home Thursday night to host a tri-match against Danville and the rival Lady Tigers of Hartselle and the ‘Cats were able to pick up big wins over both of them. They toppled Hartselle in an area match 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-22) to get the afternoon started and wrapped the evening up with a 2-1 (23-25, 25-16, 15-10) victory over Danville.
Cullman 25 – Hartselle 22 (First Set)
Juliana Brannon got Cullman on the scoreboard first with a kill and later on, they reeled off seven straight points as Brannon collected an ace during that run as the Lady Bearcats pushed their lead to 7-2. A kill by Ava Ray, followed by back-to-back aces from Reese Patterson, increased the Cullman lead to 11-5. A Ray ace made it a 14-7 game, but Hartselle slowly started to make their way back into the game as a huge run cut it to 15-13. The Lady Tigers later made it an 18-17 game and scored four straight points to take a 21-19 lead. They held a 22-20 lead late in the game, but it was all Cullman after that as they got the final five points of the game to take home the 25-22 win in game one.
Ray finished with a pair of aces and a kill for Cullman. Brannon added a kill, an ace, and a point. Patterson ended up with a pair of aces and Haley Shannon collected a kill.
Cullman 26 – Hartselle 24 (Second Set)
Shannon collected the game-opening point for Cullman in game two. Both teams battled back and forth for the whole contest as neither team was able to run away with this one. After Hartselle tied it up at six, the Lady Bearcats scored three straight points, including a Brannon ace, to take a 9-6 lead. Cullman held a slim 12-9 lead, but the Lady Tigers went on a 6-0 run to take a 15-12 lead. Natalie Freeman got a kill and an ace from Brannon tied the game up at 15. The Lady Tigers got the lead right back at 19-17, but the Lady Bearcats got three aces from Blakley Brannon and a point and an ace from Ray as they got the lead right back at 22-19. Hartselle would reclaim the lead once again as they held a 24-23 lead, but once again, it would be Cullman that would finish the game strong. After tying the game up once again, Freeman got a kill and a point from Juliana Brannon finished off the Lady Tigers as Cullman won game two, 26-24.
Blakley Brannon finished the game with four aces for Cullman. Juliana Brannon added two points, an ace, and a kill. Freeman ended up with a pair of kills and a point. Ray added a kill and a point. Shannon collected a point and Anna Beth Mauldin added a dig.
Cullman 25 – Hartselle 22 (Third Set)
Once again, a kill by Juliana Brannon got Cullman on the scoreboard first, but it would be Hartselle that would get off to a fast start as five straight points gave them a 7-3 lead. The Lady Bearcats went on another mini run as Blakley Brannon collected an ace to help tie the game up at eight. Later on, Juliana Brannon got two straight points and a kill to give Cullman a 12-9 lead. The Lady Tigers got the lead right back later on in the contest as another 5-0 run by them gave them an 18-14 lead. Cullman later cut it to 20-18 on a Blakley Brannon kill, but Hartselle pushed their lead back up to four at 22-18. Cullman, though, answered right back in a huge way as they scored the final seven points of the contest. Blakley Brannon got the ace to start the run and another one to finish off Hartselle. Ray got a point and Juliana Brannon got a point and a kill as well and the Lady Bearcats came from behind once again as they defeated the Lady Tigers, 25-22.
Juliana Brannon finished the game with four kills, three points, and a dig for Cullman. Blakley Brannon added a trio of aces, a kill, and a point. Ray ended up with a point, while Payton Smith, Shannon, and Mauldin each collected a dig.
Danville 25 – Cullman 23 (First Set)
Cullman got off to a good start against Danville as Shannon got a block point and a kill to help give them a quick 3-0 lead. A dig by Mauldin and a point by Freeman gave the Lady Bearcats a 5-3 lead, but Danville would go on a huge run later on in the contest as a 7-1 run gave them a 14-8 lead. The Lady Bearcats slowly started to crawl their way back into the game as a Shannon kill made it 15-10 and a Mauldin ace cut it to 16-12. After Danville made it 20-16, Cullman went on another run as a point by Freeman gave them a 21-20 lead. The Lady Hawks got the lead right back at 22-21, but a point by Freeman and a Juliana Brannon ace gave Cullman the lead once again at 23-22, but unfortunately, Danville got the win at the end as three straight points by them gave them the 25-23 win.
Shannon led the way for Cullman with a pair of kills and two points. Juliana Brannon added a pair of digs, an ace and a point. Freeman ended up with a trio of points. Mauldin added a dig and an ace. Blakley Brannon ended up with a dug and Ray collected a point.
Cullman 25 – Danville 16 (Second Set)
Just like in the first set, Cullman got off to a very fast start, as Shannon and Juliana Brannon got three of the first four points for the Lady Bearcats as they jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead. They later pushed it to 7-3 and the Lady Hawks cut it to 8-5, but Blakley and Juliana Brannon had a quick answer as they got the next four points to swell the Cullman lead to 12-5. Danville would cut the deficit to 13-10, but a point each from Shannon and Juliana Brannon helped push the lead to 17-11. A Freeman point made it 18-12 and the Lady Bearcats made sure that the outcome would never be in doubt after that. Blakley Brannon finished the game off with a point and Cullman tied the series up at one after their 25-16 win in game two.
Juliana Brannon finished with four points and a kill for Cullman. Shannon added three points. Blakley Brannon ended up with a pair of points and a kill and Freeman collected a point of her own.
Cullman 15 – Danville 10 (Third Set)
There were more than a handful of ties to start out this third and final game between Cullman and Danville. After the Hawks tied things up at five, the Lady Bearcats reeled off four straight points as Juliana and Blakley Brannon got a point and an ace, respectively, and Ray got a point as well, and that gave them a 9-5 lead. Danville cut it to 10-8, but Juliana Brannon continued her huge day as she got a point and then, she got back-to-back kills as well and that helped push the Lady Bearcat lead to 13-8. Danville made it a 14-10 game, but Freeman had the final say in this contest as she delivered the game-clinching kill to give Cullman a 15-10 win and the 2-1 series win.
Juliana Brannon finished with four points and a pair of kills for Cullman. Ray added a kill, a point, and a dig. Shannon and Freeman each ended up with a kill and Blakley Brannon added an ace.
Cullman will travel to Arab to take on the Lady Knights and Albertville Tuesday.
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