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MHSAA 7A volleyball championship: Lewisburg rallies to dethrone Brandon

The Patriots took home the 2023 title in the most dramatic fashion possible

OXFORD, Miss. — The Lewisburg Patriots were down, but they weren’t out.

After losing the first two sets against two-time defending champion Brandon, the North State Champs got off the deck, stormed back to win the third and fourth sets, then sealed the comeback with a 15-13 win in the tie-breaker.

When the dust settled, the Patriots cried, dog-piled and hoisted the school’s first-ever 7A State Volleyball Championship Trophy.

“Our girls had a players-only huddle after we lost the second set,” Lewisburg coach Amy Hendrichovsky said. “I don’t know what was said, but something changed and our girls came out as motivated as I have seen them all year.”

The Patriots (33-7) finished the third set on a 15-11 run to win it 25-20.

Senior outside hitter Ella Grace Holloway was instrumental, providing kill after kill.

The two teams played to a 6-6 tie to start the fourth set, but the Pats got some separation with a nice little 9-3 run and led it by as many as eight points down the stretch in a 25-18 win to tie the match at two sets to two.

That set the table for the fifth and final set, and when the moment came, Lewisburg was ready.

“We’ve had to grind like this several times in the playoffs,” Hendrichovsky said. “So I knew we were mentally tough enough to handle it.”

The two teams played to a 13-13 tie before Lewisburg got it to match point off of an error from Brandon (38-5).

After a dramatic rally, Brandon’s Aubrey Dale went for a kill from the right side of the net, but hit it right into the waiting hands of Holloway, who blocked the shot for the win.

Holloway earned MVP honors for her efforts, leading the packed-out Lewisburg student section to chant “M-V-P” as she collected her hardware.

The match provided a great showdown between Holloway and Brandon’s two big outside hitters, reigning 7A Miss Volleyball Emily Davis and Emma Levingston.

All three had phenomenal games, but it was Holloway that lifted the Gold Ball Trophy.

“Davis and (Holloway) are fantastic players,” Hendrichovsky said. “I think our girls, because we’re so far in the North, don’t get the same kind of publicity that they’ve had. But this was two great teams going at it tonight. This was Mississippi volleyball at its best.”