This past Tuesday night there was a showdown between the Overton Lady Mustangs and the Leverett’s Chapel Lady Lions. Unfortunately, only one of the schools could walk away with a victory Tuesday night, which made the game even more thrilling. The victory went to the Overton Mustangs after a very tense game. All three sets went in favor of the Mustangs: 25-21, 25-19, and 25-15. 

This was the first district match for both schools as well as the first time two school districts of Rusk County became opponents on the volleyball court this season. There was a game between the Full Armor Christian Academy and Carlisle back in August but it was a non-conference game.

The Mustangs hosted the Lions in Overton, where the home-court advantage superstition may have played a role in the match, boosting the morale and determination of Overton. The first set seemed almost evenly matched between the Lions and the Mustangs, with a close score of 25-21, where the Mustangs pulled ahead during the crucial moments.

During the second set, it seemed as if the Lady Lions faltered in their rhythm just a bit. The Mustangs pulled ahead with a decent lead while the Lions found their footing. Despite the Lions’ best efforts, the second set was lost to the Mustangs. 

Soon after it seemed as if the Overton Mustangs were persistently backing the Lions into a corner. After pushing through the second set, it seemed as if the Overton lady's energy seemed to adopt a rolling snowball effect. With more and more effort being exuded on the court the Mustangs secured the overall match with a third set win.

The Lady Lions are working with a new foundation and have been playing with a learning curve during their past games this season. However, rather than be disappointed by their losses they are taking everything in stride, making every moment into a lesson.

Their head volleyball coach, Natkeshia Raibon, said, “Emotions and Adrenaline were running high! We jumped out early and fought point after point side out with Overton. We were ahead a few times and just couldn't close that gap and finish. What most might have thought wasn't going to be a great match turned out to be a battle. My young team is buying into the direction that I want the program to go in. There is not one element of the team that is greater than the other, from the bench to the floor everyone is a team and we are fighting every match together. There is no doubt that we will continue to progress and transition into winning!”

She has high hopes for her team since she sees the potential each girl has. The Lady Lions played their hearts out, and a few of them are already starting to stand out on the court.

Jasmin Chavez, number 1 and a freshman, who walked off the court with 3 kills, 3 aces, 5 digs, and 7 assists. Michelle Jamaica, number 3 and a senior, took home 2 kills, 11 digs, and 1 assist. Ashilia Smith, number 7 and a junior, managed to secure 2 kills, 4 aces, 3 blocks, and 2 digs. Jalynn Peery, number 9 and a sophomore, followed those ladies by grabbing 2 kills, 1 block, and 1 dig. 

On the other side of the net, the Overton Lady Mustangs were a force to be reckoned with. Outstanding players and a rigid defense attributed to the ladies’ victory. Despite having a late start to their season due to COVID-19, the Overton Mustangs team operated smoothly and efficiently, taking on the enemy with determination to win.

Players that acted as pillars of strength for the team Tuesday night were Mary Fenter, Brylie Smith, Kaley McMillian, and Ta'leyah Tilley. Fender garnered 4 kills, 3 digs, 1 assist, and 14 aces, with 23/25 serving for 20 points by the end of the match. McMillian took home 3 kills, 13 digs, 7 assists, and 1 ace. Tilley left the court with 3 kills, 8 digs, 6 assists, and 3 aces. Smith had 4 kills.

These ladies brought the fighting spirit, declaring with all their might that the Mustangs wouldn’t go down without a fight. This win was due to the efforts of all the Lady Mustangs who left no regrets on the court that night.

This win puts the Mustangs overall score at 2-5 as well as their district score at 1-0, while the Lady Lions district score is 0-1. The Lady Mustangs traveled to Hawkins to play Friday night, while the Lady Lions traveled to Union Grove.

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