GRANGEVILLE – Ally Williams – wearing a bit of protective plastic over her right knee – had a night nine months in the making. Her return to the floor following surgical repair of a key ligament saw the Bulldog junior deliver jump-serve after jump-serve and assist after assist as GHS topped Prairie in five games, 25-22, 25-11, 15-25, 23-25, 15-11.

Williams’ serves had closed out the first two games, and spotty passing by the Pirates left the impression it might end quickly.

The third game began with a mistake like many others Prairie made early on: a back-row player sent a pass too close to the net, and Grangeville’s Jakaili Norman smashed it down.

The Prairie girls, for their part, rallied when their passing picked up. The Pirates took a 10-6 lead with Ellea Uhlenkott at the serve line, and carried their run of sharp play over into the fourth, which proved the most tightly-played game of the night.

After ties at 1-1, 7-7, 9-9, 11-11 and 12-12, Prairie gained a three-point lead when Brooklyn Riener rattled off three serve points in a row. Grangeville trimmed that lead, and appeared in full control, when Williams stepped to the line. Down five, 19-14, she put Grangeville ahead 22-19 on four aces and several Prairie errors, including one of those overlong passes killed off by Norman.

A long point ensued, and Prairie won it; with that long point came momentum, as the Pirates surged from down three through the end of the fourth, leveling the match.

The fifth was all Grangeville early, with Macy Smith serving ahead of kills by Norman and Zoe Lutz. Prairie pushed back from a 5-1 deficit, but couldn’t close the gap quickly enough; the Pirates drew within 13-11, but GHS was able to side out and won on Norman’s serve.

Full results will be reported in this week’s print edition, on newsstands Sept. 11.

Earlier in the night, Prairie prevailed in the JV (25-11, 25-13, 15-7) and C (21-25, 25-15, 17-15) matches.

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