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There was no hill too steep for the Ephrata Mountaineers during Tuesday’s girls volleyball matchup against Elizabethtown. There were simply too many hills to climb.

On the brink of being swept by the Bears, the Mountaineers forced a deciding fourth set with a momentous rally, but ultimately fell to host Elizabethtown 3-1 (25-23, 25-23, 24-26, 25-20) in an early matchup of Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Two unbeatens.

Trailing 24-17 in the third set, Ephrata (2-1) rattled off a run of nine straight points, capped off by a Grace Farlow kill, to extend the contest.

Elizabethtown (3-0) opened the fourth set on a 10-0 run, however, highlighted by a pair of aces from Sydney Stewart and two show-stopping blocks by Liz Kerin to retake control of the match.

Still, Ephrata rallied back to knot the set at 13-all prior to the Bears pulling away.

“We used a lot of energy to come back and get close and finally take the third set,” said Ephrata head coach Mike Elliott. “They’re a good team. There were questions of could Elizabethtown be challenged and we proved they can be.”

For Elizabethtown, Kallee Locker tallied a match-high 14 kills. Kerin added 10 kills, Chloe Merkt contributed nine kills, and Stewart had eight kills to go along with seven aces.

“We just have to limit the mistakes and keep the energy high,” said Bears interim head coach Karen Eberly, crediting her seniors for ultimately closing out the contest. “We play so much better when our energy is high.”

Taylor Haupt led Ephrata with 13 kills. Maddy Saylor chipped in 22 assists and Erin Eby had 18 digs and three aces for the Mounts, who were coming off a victory in their home tournament last Saturday, knocking off Conestoga Valley in the championship final.

Section Two play continues on Thursday, with Ephrata hosting Solanco and Elizabethtown traveling to Lebanon, both 7 p.m. starts.

The Bears will also take part in the Black Knight Joust invitational tournament on Saturday at 9 a.m. at Hempfield High School.

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