Alma pushes Van Buren in a rivalry contest.

Alma had Van Buren on the ropes in the second game of Monday’s nonconference clash. That’s about the time first-year Van Buren coach Brent Reeves realized the importance of the Alma-Van Buren rivalry.

The Lady Pointers’ Emilee Aaron and Hattie Morrison had 15 and 13 kills, respectively, and the Pointers rallied to beat the Airedalettes, 25-27, 25-23, 25-18, 27-25, at Clair Bates Arena.

Van Buren (7-6) resumes 7A-West play today against Har-Ber.

Alma will host Clarksville in 5A-West play today.

“I thought they (Pointers) showed a lot of mental toughness,” Reeves said. “I guess I’m learning there is a big rivalry with Alma and Van Buren. You just throw everything out and just go out and play hard.”

Paced by Rae Smith and Bailey Hoffsommer’s hitting, and Abbye Ostrander’s passing, Alma rallied from five points down to win the first set. Hoffsommer was a key cog in the comeback.

It appeared the Airedalettes were about to complete a second comeback in the second game. Trailing 22-17, Alma tied the match 23 before Van Buren hung on.

“Van Buren’s a great program; I really wanted for these girls to get a win,” Alma coach Tiffanye Drinkwitz said. “They played really tough. We’ve been working on being consistent, and we just weren’t consistent enough to get that win.”

A pair of aces from sophomore Alex Dupree helped Van Buren build a quick 5-1 lead in the critical third game. Alma got no closer than two (9-7) the rest of the way.

“She’s (Dupree) a very smart server,” Reeves said. “She knows how to serve and score points.”

It appeared Van Buren’s momentum was building in the fourth game, too. The Pointers opened up a 10-6 lead before Alma — which hadn’t led since early in the second game — fought back.

Shelby Ramsey’s ace gave the Airedalettes their first lead (12-11). And, after the Pointers fought back for a 15-13 lead, Scout Simpson’s tip, two kills by Smith and another by Allie Freeman gave the Airedalettes a 19-17 lead.

Van Buren fought back, too, and took a 22-20 lead before Smith’s kill and another Ramsey ace gave the Airedalettes a 23-22 lead.

But two crucial hitting errors and one final smash by Aaron helped Van Buren escape.

“Emilee and Hattie, they go up there and hit that ball,” Reeves said. “They play to win.”

Smith and Hoffsommer had 12 kills apiece for Alma. Alyssa Hoyle had 10 kills, and Ostrander finished with 38 assists.

Simpson and Jordan Collyar added 19 and 24 digs, respectively, for the Airedalettes.

Dupree finished with eight kills and four aces for the Lady Pointers. Caroline Davis added 20 assists.