Originally published Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 01:35p.m.

KINGMAN – The Colorado River Invitational this past weekend didn’t count toward the regular season, but two familiar volleyball squads met in the championship – Kingman and Kingman Academy.

The Lady Bulldogs were victorious in the tournament, but the Lady Tigers avenged the setback Tuesday night with a 3-1 win (25-17, 22-25, 25-23, 27-25) in a thrilling back-and-forth battle at Betty Rowe Gymnasium.

“We had moments where we were really good tonight,” said Academy head coach Bill McCord. “Then there were moments where we just had a lot of silly mistakes. So we’re going to work on that.”

Kingman, on the other hand, entered the 3A West Region battle feeling good after a successful weekend in Bullhead City.

“We were pretty jazzed, we were pumped, that’s for sure,” said Lady Bulldogs head coach Grant Benson. “There were a couple times over the weekend where the girls were down by a couple of points, they were getting a little frustrated with themselves and you thought they were going to give up, but they found a new level of grit. I don’t know what else to say – they dug deep and they pulled the points back. It was just amazing and it was fun to watch.”

While Kingman showed signs of the same grit Tuesday night, it also experienced a letdown in a decisive third set.

The Lady Bulldogs held a 14-7 lead and pushed that advantage to 21-14, only to have Academy rally to knot it up at 21-21. It was tied one more time at 23-23 before the Lady Tigers scored the final two points for a 2-1 lead in the match.

“Up by seven points and we gave it up – tonight was a tough loss,” Benson said. “Academy is a tough team. We played them well in the tournament this last weekend and it was a fight just like this. Three sets was all we had that night, but it was back-and-forth and really tight. We respect the heck out of the KAOL team – they’re just amazing.”

Benson may have had praise for Academy, but McCord didn’t think the Lady Tigers played up to their potential after sweeping Kingman 3-0 on Sept. 19.

“All night long we were making a lot of silly, silly mistakes,” McCord said. “I think we gave them more points than they earned. And not taking anything away from them, because they played us really, really well. But I think we weren’t on top of our game. We’re still not, we’re working on it. We’re figuring things out.”

Despite the off night, Academy carried its comeback in Set 3 over to Set 4 by jumping out to a 10-5 lead that forced a Kingman timeout.

However, the Lady Bulldogs once again showed their grit by rallying to tie the match at 21-21 before taking a 23-21 lead. The Lady Tigers called timeout and the break from the action paid off as they tied it up 24-24 on their way to a win after a back-and-forth ending.

“We’ve seen a lot of success and a lot of really good plays in the past week,” Benson said. “Tonight just felt forced. You could see there was some hesitancy. A couple of the girls were asking ‘Is it my ball or your ball?’ We don’t do that normally and that was just tough.”

Kingman (1-7, 1-2 3A West Region) travels to Northwest Christian (9-1, 4-0) at 5 p.m. Wednesday, while Academy (5-5, 3-1) hosts Chino Valley (4-6, 2-1) at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Lee Williams 3, Mingus 1

At Mingus, the Lady Vols picked up their fourth 4A Grand Canyon Region win of the season Tuesday night in a 3-1 victory over the Lady Marauders.

Lee Williams (7-2, 4-2) welcomes Prescott (5-5, 2-4) to town at 6 p.m. Thursday.