UNION SPRINGS — The Wolves had the momentum and the match slip away.

The Union Springs volleyball team took the first set, but Lansing rallied to take the next three in a 3-1 victory at Union Springs High School Monday. The final set scores were 22-25, 25-17, 25-19 and 26-24.

After the match, Wolves coach Tom Owens was still searching for answers.

"There's just some times where we're hot and some times when we're cold," Owens said. "I can't pinpoint one specific thing. I'd say we probably stopped moving our feet a little bit, but that's the only thing.

"They're a good team ... and unless you're on the top of your game, you're not going to beat a team like that."

Union Springs' Jess Morgan recorded a team-high eight aces and added four kills, four digs and an assist. Ruth Jackson added eight kills, an ace, an assist and a block, while Aurora Lucas tallied five assists and two aces and Marrin Owens finished with seven assists and two kills.

"I'm proud of my kids for what they've done and how hard they've worked this year," Owens said. "I know they get mad because I push them hard, but I didn't want them to stop. I wanted to keep moving them in the right direction. They've worked their tails off and done everything I've asked them to do. I'm proud of my kids no matter what."

The Wolves trailed early in the first set, but a six-point run gave them an 11-9 advantage. The lead changed hands four more times, but Union Springs took seven out of the last 10 points in a 25-22 victory.

The Bobcats earned the first five points and an 11-1 run gave them a 22-8 advantage in the second set. The Wolves rallied, but dropped the frame 25-17.

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Lansing got off to another hot start in the third set and took a 13-4 lead. Union Springs tied the score at 16-16 but weren't able to complete the comeback in a 25-19 loss.

"My girls might get a little shellshocked every once in a while, but they don't quit," Owens said. "That's the thing. They didn't quit. If they got in a couple more serves, who knows how it could've gone. It could've gone either way. ... Unfortunately we didn't, and that's the way it goes."

The Bobcats opened the fourth with a 7-2 lead. Union Springs had a five-point run to close the gap and later tied the score at 24-24, but Lansing took the final two points to close out the contest.

"The problem was on the last three sets we put ourselves in a big hole," Owens said. "We were down like 7-1 or 8-1 or something like that and had to claw our way back. When you're clawing and you can't get runs going, you're in big trouble. ... They were the better team tonight, and I feel the most bad for our seniors going out on a loss like this, but it's only one loss.

"For what they've accomplished this year, they really have nothing to hang their heads about."

Union Springs wraps up the regular season with a 12-3 record. The Wolves, who are the IAC North Small Division champions, take on Candor for the overall IAC Small School title on Friday at Tompkins Cortland Community College.

"Candor is 15-0 and they are a great team. You can't even call them a good team — they're a great team," Owens said. "They have everything lined up this year in terms of their program, so for us we're going to go in with a positive attitude and do our best. We have our division title and to go play against someone like that is a great opportunity for us.

"No matter what, we'll go down there and give it our best."

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Sports writer Jeremy Houghtaling can be reached at 315-282-2256 or at jeremy.houghtaling@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenHough.