In the waning moments of the fourth set, Clinton eagerly awaited the serve from Goldsboro.
Hallie Brown launched the ball into the air, and as the ball sailed over the net, the Dark Horses were unable to return the serve as the ball fell onto the court.
The Cougars erupted as their chants echoed throughout the mostly empty gym.
Brown’s ace helped Goldsboro finish off a 25-21, 21-25, 25-23, 25-16 four-set thriller over Clinton in East Central 2A Conference play Thursday night.
This match was the Cougars’ (6-0 overall) second four-set match this season. The Cougars toppled Clinton 25-20, 19-25, 25-19, 25-19 on Tuesday.
Goldsboro head coach Pam Tart said she was proud of the Cougars for getting two straight wins against the Dark Horses this week.
“They were able to fight back and overcome, and I’m proud of them,” Tart said. “They did on Tuesday, and in this game, Clinton gave us a lot.
“I like this type of match because this is what you live for.”
From start to finish, the four-set thriller was a back and forth game with both teams giving it their all.
Late in the first set, momentum belonged to the Dark Horses. The Dark Horses built up a 17-13 edge but led by Brown and Haley Phillips, Goldsboro went on a 12-4 run to roar back and win the first set.
However, the Dark Horses were not going away quietly, and Clinton took back the momentum in the second set.
The score was tied at three, but Clinton outscored Goldsboro 22-18 down the stretch to win the second set and tie the match at one-all.
“Clinton was playing smart, and they were capitalizing on some of the areas we weren’t covering,” Tart said. “Clinton is a great passing team, and they do a great job of picking you apart.
“We have strong hitters, and Clinton did a good job getting up digs.”
In a nail-biting third set, a kill from Phillips gave the Cougars a 21-12 lead, but Clinton used an 11-2 run to make it a 23-23 tie, which forced Tart to call a timeout.
Coming out of the timeout, the fired-up Cougars won the next two points to win the third set and take the momentum for good.
“When we were tied 23-23, and I called the timeout, the first thing I said to them was ‘whoever leaves it all on the floor is going to win this game,’ and that’s what they did,” Tart said. “They never let up, and it carried over into the fourth set.”
In the fourth and final set of the match, the Cougars proved they can push through the adversity as they dominated the Dark Horses. Clinton only held the lead once in the fourth set, and once Goldsboro moved ahead 4-3, the lead never exchanged hands again.
Goldsboro had a lead as large as nine. Clinton cut the Cougars’ lead down to 22-16 before kills from Anna Miranda and Phillips made the score 24-16, and Brown’s ace ended the match.
The victory was Goldsboro’s sixth consecutive win, and Tart acknowledged the importance of the win and said the Cougars have to keep the momentum going against Riverside on Tuesday.