EAST LIVERPOOL - This year's edition of "Volley for a Cure" was an instant classic.
In one of the longest and most hard-fought matches of the year, the Potters found a way to rally past the Beavers for a five-game victory on Monday at Potter Fieldhouse.
The first game was a good indication of what was to come.
Beaver Local (8-8) won a marathon set over East Liverpool (11-5) by a score of 31-29.
The Beavers then looked to be in control after winning 25-18 in the second set. However, the Potters were not going to be denied. East Liverpool rallied from behind to win the final three sets and the match, 25-20, 25-20, 15-11.
"It was great stuff," East Liverpool coach Bob Shansky said. "If you were a fan here tonight, you got your money's worth, that's for sure."
For the Beavers, it was the same story as the first matchup between the crosstown rivals. The Potters also rallied from a 2-0 deficit when the two met earlier in the season at Beaver Local.
"When we play (East Liverpool), you know it's going to be a long and exciting night," Beaver Local coach Sarah Lowe said. "When you come into this atmosphere, you expect matches like this."
With the early season meeting between the two fresh in her mind, Lowe said she didn't feel at ease when her team took a 2-0 lead on Monday.
"In any match whether you're up 2-0 or tied 1-1, you can't get comfortable," she said. "Especially against East Liverpool. We play one set and one point at a time. You've got to make every point count."
Both coaches gave much credit to the opposite side. After a match that lasted two and a half hours, there really are no losers.
"Beaver Local played such great defense," Shansky said. "We had to readjust so many times because they gave us so many different looks. When they play like that, you have to match them point for point."
Lowe echoed Shansky's comments.
"You've got to give a lot of credit to both sides," she said. "They played through some injuries and showed toughness. On our side, we made a ton of changes and our girls were able to carry it out on the floor. Towards the end of the match, we kind of got away from our swinging and relied too much on our defense."
For East Liverpool, Jordan Chupa finished with 11 points and six kills, while Morgan Campbell added 10 points, 55 spikes and 17 kills.
Taylar Jordan had 58 sets, 18 assists, 22 kills and 68 spikes, and Jordyn Adkins had eight points and 38 assists.
Kylie Golden finished with eight digs, while Kathy Rowe added nine digs and nine points.
Caitlyn Davis had 34 spikes and nine kills, and Kiara Cowart had three kills and five blocks.
"We had opportunities to win that first game," Shansky said. "We just didn't finish. After the second game, I kind of let out some of my frustrations. Sometimes, that brings them together. But in the end, it was all about senior leadership out there for us."
For Beaver Local, Tannar Dolhun finished with two digs, seven kills and three blocks, while Laini Roberts added seven points, one ace, 20 digs and four spikes.
Sierra Wright had five points, 14 digs, seven assists, five kills and one block, and Mackenzie Davis had seven points, 12 digs and nine assists.
Danna Talbott finished with five points, 33 digs, 12 kills and two blocks, while Nevada Dobbs added nine points, one ace, 14 digs, two assists, 18 kills and four blocks.
Miranda Turkovich had six digs, one assist and one kill, and Alison Buchheit had 10 points, two aces, 17 digs, 24 assists, seven kills and three blocks.
The teams came together to support cancer research, and both coaches applauded the efforts by the two communities.
"Great crowd, great feeling, great cause," Shansky said. "It's the communities coming together that is special. Two Beaver Local girls came to us and asked to do it. Our girls were all for it."
Lowe said the "Volley for a Cure" game is always significant, but holds a special place in the hearts of these two teams.
"This game is important worldwide, but I think it means even a little more for this community than some others," she said. "We lost a member of the Beaver Local family last year and we all dedicated the game to her. Coming together and working together, what more could you ask for?"
In reserve action, Beaver Local improved to 13-3 with a 25-9, 22-25, 25-13 victory over East Liverpool.
Lynsey Reckner led the Beavers with 17 points, while the Potters were paced by Sierra Nichols (eight points, three kills).
Beaver Local will be at Niles on Tuesday, while East Liverpool will play at South Range on Wednesday.