The Houston volleyball rallied late to remain undefeated in conference play.

Twice.

The Lady Tigers used a 9-0 spurt in the opening set to erase a deficit and scored nine of the final 11 points in the second set to squeak past Mountain Grove 25-22, 25-21 Tuesday night inside Hiett Gymnasium.

The victory, which concluded with sophomore Alexa Ichord’s cross-court kill, made Houston 3-0 in SCA play.

“They are learning how to fight and that it’s OK to play with a little heart and put yourself out there and not be afraid of failure,” Houston coach Amy McNew said.

Sarah Pierce had a team-best 11 kills and Ichord added eight for the Lady Tigers, who over the weekend finished fourth at the Rolla Tournament. Tory Burgess had 20 assists.

Houston (10-8-1) trailed 19-15 in the opening set before pulling even with a quick 4-0 rally that included kills from Pierce and Erica Keeney. After giving up a point, the Lady Tigers scored five unanswered points to take a commanding 24-20 advantage. Ichord completed the rally and opening set with a kill.

Houston was behind 19-16 in the second set before again rallying. Lainey Casper had an ace as the Lady Tigers scored six of the next seven points.

Ahead 22-21, Houston got a Pierce kill and block by Erica Keeney before Ichord’s kill that finished the match.

“They’re starting to find ways to win,” McNew said. “It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be effective.”

On Saturday in Rolla, the Lady Tigers were unbeaten in pool play with victories against Rolla (25-15, 25-20), Osage (25-16, 25-23) and Mexico, Mo. (25-6, 26-19). They tied West Plains.

In tournament play, Rockwood edged Houston in three sets in the semifinals. The loss dropped the Lady Tigers to the third-place game, where they were defeated 25-16, 25-18 by West Plains.

McNew said her team was not the same after Burgess collided with a teammate in the Rockwood loss and was taken to the hospital as a precaution. Houston hadn’t lost at that point in the tournament

“After we came up short against Rockwood and Tory got hurt, we were done physically, mentally and emotionally,” McNew said. “They were all worried about her.”

On Thursday, Eminence defeated the Lady Tigers 25-21, 21-25, 25-22.

Keeney and Kaitlyn Kell had nine kills apiece.

JV VOLLEYBALL: The JV Lady Tigers’ undefeated streak ended with consecutive losses. They lost their first match 25-18, 25-23 Thursday at Eminence and were defeated 20-25, 25-22, 25-23 Tuesday by Mountain Grove.

Kenzie Scheets had eight kills against Mountain Grove. Amber Sillyman had seven kills and 13 assists for Houston (7-2).

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