By Adam Burns
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There may be a rivalry brewing between the TK Legends and K2 Adidas 18-year-old elite squads.
Two weeks after falling to K2 in straight sets, the Legends 18s flipped the script on K2 with a come-from-behind 2-1 (22-25, 25-22, 15-12) victory in the Triple Crown Sports NIT on Sunday afternoon inside the Kansas City Convention Center.
With the win, TK Legends, of Georgia, advanced to the quarterfinal round.
“It feels great,” TK Legends outside hitter Caitlin O’Farrell said. “They beat us in their own tournament in the finals. So coming back and beating them was really refreshing.”
TK Legends coach Suzanne Fitzgerald was just as pleased.
“They've struggled with that all season; they get in a hole and don’t know how to get it out of it,” she said. “There (are) veterans on this team and newcomers as well, so we’re still learning how to get out of those moments. To do it in that situation, a must-win situation, that’s the best feeling.”
In the first set, K2 Adidas, of Tennessee, pulled away from 18-18 to finish on a 7-4 run.
“It’s a typical match that we like to play in the first set; we got them out of sorts and made them a little bit one-dimensional,” K2 Adidas coach Jason Hames said.
TK Legends fell into a 10-5 hole in the second set, but they worked out of the deficit with an 8-1 run to take a 13-11 lead. The rest of the second set saw eight ties and six lead changes. But it was the strong attack of O’Farrell, Riley Spurlin and Jordan Rush, who respectively put away kills for the final three of four points to force a third set.
“The second set was a close one and then they made the plays at the end to win it,” Hames said. “You got to put good teams away. We had an opportunity there to put away a very good team, and we just didn’t do that.”
O’Farrell, an Ohio commit who finished with 10 kills, had three kills and Gabby Gonzalez put away two of her game-high 15 kills in the final set. TK Legends used a 5-1 run to take command with a 12-8 lead.
K2 Adidas cut the lead to two twice, the last at 14-12 just before O’Farrell put away the game with her final kill.
“It was a great team effort,” O’Farrell said. “We got down, but we fought back and started off strong in the second set and then come back in the third set with all of our intensity and overpower them.”