NEW CHAPEL HILL -- The Chapel Hill Lady Bulldogs rode a solid defensive effort to outlast District 16-3A rival Bullard in five games, 12-25, 26-24, 17-25, 25-22, 15-9, on Tuesday night.

Junior Shay Ross led the Lady Bulldogs with 12 kills to add to her two blocks and four digs.

In Game 1, fueled by a stellar serving performance by Makenzie Fish that included two aces, the Lady Panthers slid past the Lady Bulldogs.

Game 2 was a battle of service as Chapel Hill took the lead behind seven service points by Ross, putting the Lady Bulldogs up 19-12. Bullard battled back with Madi Hodges knocking down eight consecutive serves to tie the game at 24-24. Chapel Hill’s Gabby Brooks then hammered down two kills to give the game to the Lady Bulldogs.

Bullard, propelled by eight service points by Maddy Davis, went up 15-8 early in Game 3. Two kills by D’Errica Campbell brought the Lady Bulldogs back to within three points, but a kill by Lexi Abercrombie would give the Lady Panthers the victory and a 2-1 advantage in the match.

Chapel Hill, however, fought back.

Schuyler Wages recorded five of her seven kills in Game 4 for the Lady Bulldogs. Chapel Hill battled back from a seven-point deficit to tie the game, 20-20. Brooks then served six straight points for the Lady Bulldogs to take the win, forcing a decisive fifth game.

Game 5 was a fight as well. It was tied at 9-9 before the Lady Bulldogs took control on a kill by Wages.  Brooks then took to the service line for the final six points of the game.

“I think defensively we played outstanding,” Chapel Hill coach Linda Godwin said.  “Offensively, we kind of hit a slump. We have to serve-receive the ball and that’s consistently our biggest problem. We play Henderson Friday night and receiving will definitely be a focus in practice to prepare for the matchup.”

Campbell hammered down 10 kills to add to her seven digs for the Lady Bulldogs. Alexus Mayfield also chipped in with seven digs.

Fish recorded seven kills and Meredith Daly knocked down three kills to go with her nine blocks in the Lady Panthers defeat.

Chapel Hill plays host to Henderson Friday night, while Bullard faces Diboll at home on Saturday in a non-district affair. The Lady Panthers return to district play Oct. 2 against Henderson.