MOBILE, Ala. – Faulkner squandered a two set lead to fall to Mobile Tuesday evening in a five set Southern States Athletic Conference West division battle 25-21, 22-25, 19-25, 25-20, 15-11.
The Lady Eagles fell in a tight opener, but clung to consecutive wins in sets two and three to put the home team against the ropes. The Lady Rams struck back however, delivering the knockout blow to Faulkner.
Brittnay Renfroe was the most effective weapon at the net for the visitors. The freshman had 12 kills, hitting .364, and had a block.
Neysa Hernandez followed with nine kills and led the team with 23 digs and had three total blocks and two aces.
Jessica Long tallied eight kills, hitting .389, and added five total blocks.
Abbie Melvin had 11 digs, seven kills and a pair of service aces.
KK Lo had 21 assists followed by Morgan Wilson with 19. Each secured a pair of aces.
Kiara Gay dominated the floor for Mobile logging 23 kills, hitting .224. She also had 16 digs and three total blocks.
"We did good things tonight," said head coach Tori Bartels, "but we came up short. We have to start being more consistent. We've got the talent. I think we need to generate some wins to help boost our confidence and hopefully that will come this weekend."
Faulkner was hot early in the year achieving a program best 9-0 start to open the season. As conference play approached however, the Lady Eagles began to realize they weren't the only crew undergoing significant improvement. The team has struggled as of last, winning only three of its last 11 matches.
Virtually every team in the league has retooled forcing a battle for position in the conference tournament. The last seed in the west will be eliminated from post season action and right now, that slot belongs to Faulkner.
The old saying, "It's not how you start it's how you finish," is becoming abundantly clear for the Lady Eagles. There are plenty of division games left, but wins are becoming crucial. The coaching staff insists that the team knows what's at stake and that the players are focused now more than ever.
Faulkner currently sits tow games out of fourth place in the west. The next division showdown comes Oct. 11, when the team travels to third seeded Belhaven for their first matchup with the Blazers this season. A sweep in that pairing could prove pivotal for both teams.
That match will have to wait however, as Faulkner prepares to host its 11th annual Invitational Tournament this weekend.
The Lady Eagles drop to 13-10 overall and 2-7 in the league. The Invitational kicks off at 1:30 p.m. on Friday. Faulkner will take on Bryan at 5:30 p.m.