Greencastle's volleyball squad was within touching distance of their first WCC win of the year Thursday night against Monrovia.
Leading 2-1 and up 18-9 in the fourth set, a furious Bulldog rally set up a fifth set, which the visitors claimed to win 23-25, 22-25, 25-17, 25-20 and 15-12.
Both squads were tentative in the early going and it made for an entertaining back and forth match in the opening set, which the Tiger Cubs claimed by the narrowest of margins.
The two squads again played a nip and tuck contest in the second set, which Greencastle claimed after taking the final four points to claim a 2-0 lead and seemed to be in the driving seat.
Monrovia charged out hard in the third set, but failed to hold on to a sizable early lead and let the hosts back into the set.
But unlike the previous two sets, the Bulldogs managed to put daylight between themselves and the Tiger Cubs and comfortably won the third set.
Greencastle did not waste time in opening up a lead in the fourth set and after a 7-2 run, lead 18-9 and looked to be heading towards a conference win.
Monrovia did not see it that way and began a blistering 10-1 rally that tied the match. Greencastle retook the lead briefly at 20-19, but with the momentum clearly in the Bulldogs corner, the hosts withered and fell 25-20 to set up a deciding fifth set.
Much like the fourth set, the Tiger Cubs got out to a solid start but could not sustain their play and allowed Monrovia to take the lead at 8-7.
With ties at 9-9 and 10-all, Greencastle held tough, but again could not find the shots when they needed them in the final stages, falling 15-12 to lose 3-2 to the Bulldogs.
Greencastle head coach Trish Lowe put part of the problem down to not being able to get out of the blocks effectively.
"On every set, outside of set five, we started off slow. We did not come out ready to play and we were always playing catch-up," Lowe said.
"In sets one and two, we did our jobs. In the other sets, it felt like we fell to pieces. We did some good things. Some kids came down under pressure and did good things.
"We just haven't been in that situation a lot. This team hasn't had a lot of chances to figure out the difference between playing to win and playing not to lose. There is a difference," Lowe added.
After dropping the fourth set in the fashion the Tiger Cubs did, Lowe said the team responded well early in the fifth set but needed more from their own play late.
"We needed to get off to a good start and we made an effort to win the first five points. We did that, but after that we just couldn't take care of the ball when it was on our side of the net," Lowe said.
"I think that the good part was that some of the younger kids stepped up and didn't allow the pressure to take them out of it."
Lowe was confident that the squad was beginning to see their own potential and that could be a good thing when the Tiger Cubs host Danville next Monday.
"We've come so far in two or three weeks and we're going to be OK. It's going to come down to a lot of times of simply getting a good start."
Monrovia 22 23 25 25 15
Greencastle 25 25 17 20 12
Next Match: Greencastle hosts Danville next Monday.