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Hot Dogs fight back from brink

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FIRED UP: Frankfort’s Ashley Timmons, right, reacts after getting a kill in the final game of the Hot Dogs’ comeback win at Western on Wednesday.
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EYE ON THE BALL: Frankfort’s Lindsey Gay sets the ball during Wednesday’s match at Western where the Hot Dogs came back from two games down to win in five.

BY ANDREW KRULL - akrull@ftimes.com

Frankfort showed there’s some fight in those Hot Dogs, coming back from two games down to beat host Western in volleyball on Wednesday.

“That was quite a comeback,” Frankfort head coach Kia Rushton said. “I had a feeling that we needed to stay patient in game one and two. Western is probably the second best team we’ve seen this year behind Warsaw, so I knew we had some adjusting to do with their tall block and they’re a good team.”

The Hot Dogs came out slowly losing the first game, 25-13, and looking at a lopsided loss in game two until the momentum changed with the Panthers near closing out the game.

“We were down 10-22 in game two before we came back and pulled it a little closer and then we woke up at that point,” Rushton said.

Behind long service runs by Tarah Martinez and Chloe Roberts, the Hot Dogs closed to 24-22 in that game before Western finally ended the game. In game three, it looked like the Panthers might make an early night of it, jumping out to a 9-1 lead.

“We did not start well tonight (in games),” Rushton noted. “It didn’t matter what I did to the lineup, we did not start well until game five and that was the time to do it.”

In game three, Martinez held serve for five straight points to cut the Panther lead to 9-7 with Lindsey Gay getting a tip kill and Ashley Timmons a kill in that period. Western pushed the lead back out to 15-9 before the Hot Dogs got three straight to get it within three. They took their first lead at 17-16 during an eight point service run by Timmons that pushed that advantage to 21-16, including a tip kill by Gay, a kill by Roberts and a kill and block winner by Morgan Adamson. Frankfort closed out the game, 25-19, on a kill by Timmons.

The slow starts for the Hot Dogs continued in game four as Western jumped out to leads of 6-1 and 12-5 before the momentum slowly shifted until Frankfort tied it at 15. They took their first lead at 18-17 on a tip kill by Timmons and held it until Martinez closed out the game 25-20 with a service winner.

In the deciding game, the Hot Dogs gained some breathing room with a service run of three by Kylie Norman to make it 6-2. Western tied it at 9 before a four-point run with Martinez serving. Her kill gave Frankfort the serve with Roberts making a kill and Allyson Timmons making a kill to move the Hot Dogs within two points of finishing the comeback. Allyson Timmons’ block closed the game out at 15-10.

“Part of the good thing about my team is that they don’t give up,” Rushton said “They are not a super emotional team, so they’re not super high or super low at any time.”

She credited Gay for keeping her squad in the match early until her teammates relaxed and joined her.

“In the first two games from top to bottom, we all played nervous and made a lot of mistakes, but Lindsey Gay carried us through the first two or three games and then Chloe and Ashley got their confidence and settled down and then it was a great team effort,” Rushton said.

Ashley Timmons led the Hot Dogs with 15 kills and 32 digs, adding an ace. Gay had a team-high 37 assists with 18 digs, eight kills and an assisted block, while Roberts had 13 kills, 22 digs, three aces and an assist. Martinez led the team with four aces, adding 22 digs, a block and a kill.

Other contributors were Allyson Timmons (nine kills and a block), Norman (20 digs and an ace), Morgan Adamson (five kills, a block and four digs), Maicee Sterrett (15 digs) and Grace Campbell (one dig).

Frankfort improved to 5-3 with the win, while Western fell to 5-2. The Hot Dogs were to play West Lafayette on Thursday, with their next match at home Wednesday at 6 p.m. against conference foe Tri-West.

Both teams are currently undefeated in conference play with the Hot Dogs at 1-0 and the Bruins at 2-0 (5-4 overall).