Houston sophomore Katelyn Martinez bumps the ball over the net in the second set Tuesday against Licking.

A back-and-forth match between rivals ended with Licking on top.

The Lady Wildcats spoiled Houston’s 2013 season opener with a 26-24, 14-25, 25-19 victory Tuesday night inside Hiett Gymnasium.

After the teams split the first two sets, Licking scored seven of the first nine points of the decisive third set and never trailed. The Lady Wildcats widened the gap with a string of six consecutive points –– highlighted by three aces from Shelby Gaston –– to take a commanding 17-8 advantage. Emily Smith closed out the match with an ace.

Megan Silveus had six aces and three blocks for HHS. Katelyn Martinez led the Lady Tigers with four kills. Sydney Cremer had 11 assists.

HHS (0-1) led the opening set 21-17 before Licking scored six unanswered points. The Lady Tigers responded with three straight points, including a kill from Silveus, to go ahead 24-23. But facing set point, Licking got a kill and block from Bailie Osborne to stay alive and win the set.

Silveus had three aces as HHS stormed ahead 8-1 in the second set. The advantage was 17-13 when sophomore Sarah Kelley had a block and kill on consecutive points as the Lady Tigers scored eight of the final nine points to force a third game.

Behind a block from Osborne, Licking scored the first four points of the third set and never trailed en route to the victory.

JUNIOR VARSITY: Emily Shea had three aces in the JV Lady Tigers’ 25-21, 25-15 season-opening loss Tuesday to Licking.

Abby Casper had a team-best seven digs for Houston. Sammy Garrett and Chandra Hubbs had five digs apiece.

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