Things didn't look good for the North Central Texas College Lady Lions in their quest to win a conference championship Tuesday night.
They dropped the first two sets to Vernon College and saw one of their best hitters and team-leader in blocks go down with an injury.
But all that didn't phase them.
The Lady Lions rallied from that 0-2 deficit to defeat Vernon in five sets to claim the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference title Tuesday at Lions Fieldhouse in Gainesville. They won 15-25, 24-26,
25-22, 25-23, 15-7.
But they had to do it the hard way.
Not only were they outplayed in the first set (25-15), but sophomore Madison Williamson landed awkwardly at the net and had to leave the match with an ankle injury. She was taken to the hospital for x-rays. The team was already missing two other injured sophomores who were starters earlier this season.
But the rest of the team rallied. Even though they lost the second set, they played better, falling 26-24. Then they came back and won the third and fourth sets, then completely dominated the fifth set to send the home crowd into a frenzy.
NCTC will now be the No. 1 seed at the NJCAA Region V North Tournament scheduled to begin Monday at the University of North Texas in Denton. The Lady Lions will receive a bye in the first round, then will play the winner of the 4th seed vs. 5th seed match in the semifinals.
North Central is now 25-8 overall and 10-1 in conference with one match left Thursday at Southwestern Christian College. Vernon falls to 10-2 and will be the No. 2 seed at the regional tournament. NCTC will play at 7 p.m., on Monday Nov. 3 in the semifinals of the regional tournament. The championship match is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m.
Tuesday's match was the final home match for nine NCTC sophomores including Cristina Llorens, Callie Tuckness, Sam Flippen, Rebecca Dauenhauer, Emerald Rosenbusch, Kelsie Coplen, Madison Williamson, Shawnta Knox and Morgan Reese.