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Lady Rangers upend Clarendon, WTC at home

If there were doubts about the Ranger College women's volleyball team's ability to gut out impressive wins, they were answered this past weekend. Ranger College pounded out wins in two of their three matches, including victories over Region 5 rivals Clarendon and Western Texas College.

The weekend's action got off to a tough start on Friday. Playing in front of a large crowd in the Ron Butler Gymnasium, Ranger was forced to rally from a 2-0 deficit to win the final three games and net a hard-fought 3-2 decision over Clarendon College.

Clarendon opened the best-of-five series by taking Game 1 by a 27-25 clip. They followed that with a 25-14 win on the ensuing frame.

Ranger fought its way back. Backed by the hitting of Hayley Daniel and Hannah Brink, the team rallied to tie the contest at 2-2 by grinding out wins of 25-16 and 25-15.

Clarendon opened the decisive Game 5 with a quick burst. The Lady Bulldogs raced to an 11-9 lead. The Lady Rangers hit stride from there. After Daniel had broken Clarendon serve, Darby Hughes serves up back-to-back points to pull RC to knot the score at 12-12. Moments later, freshmen Kyria Gayle and Reanna Miller combined for back-to-back points that staked the Lady Rangers to a 14-13 advantage.

After Clarendon had rallied to tie the game at 15, Gayle and Brink delivered the final two points to give Ranger its fifth straight home win.

Reanna Miller said the team's ability to stay focused despite their early struggles was key.

"We took a total 360," said the freshman from Kopperl, Texas. "During the game we were down on ourselves. We got back up. We were so mentally tough in all five matches. The last game, they had us. At the beginning, we were down, but we just kept pushing."

Daniel and Brink both finished the contest with double-digit marks in kills. Daniel registered a game-high 23, while Brink tallied 13. Sophomore setter Darby Hughes collected 23 digs.

On Saturday morning, Ranger suffered its first home loss of the 2018 season, dropping a 3-1 decision to No. 2-ranked Cowley County Community College. The Lady Tigers, a perennial national tournament qualifier in Division II, netted a 25-9, 25-20, 20-25, 25-9 decision.

Despite the loss, Ranger picked up solid play from Hughes, who finished with 18 digs, and fellow sophomore Brianna Maxwell, who had 16 assists and 10 digs.

The Lady Rangers closed out the weekend on Saturday afternoon by grinding out a thrilling four-game win over Western Texas College.

Against WTC, Ranger eased its way to wins of 25-23 and 25-21 in the first two games. The Lady Westerners rallied to take the next game, 25-21. RC fought its way back from a 4-point deficit late in Game 4 to claim a tough 28-26 victory.

Macey Jordan and Brink powered the Lady Rangers' attack at the net in the contest. Jordan delivered a team-high 12 kills. Brink added 11 more.

Hughes sparked the RC defense with 30 digs.