08/26/04 — Prep volleyball -- Saints take revenge on Gators

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Prep volleyball -- Saints take revenge on Gators

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on August 26, 2004 1:58 PM

DUDLEY -- Second-year Southern Wayne volleyball coach Brian Bandy can't say with certainty that his team has completely turned the corner after defeating Spring Creek in four sets on Wednesday.

What is for sure is that Bandy saw his Saints do something they didn't do all of last season --win back-to-back matches.

After dropping a tightly contested first game to the Gators, Southern Wayne bounced back to claim the match 24-26, 25-16, 25-13, 25-10.

Charlie Garten, Katie Westfall, Rachel Reynolds

News-Argus/Dennis Hill

Southern Wayne's Charlie Garten (5) sets up the ball as teammates Katie Westfall (14) and Rachel Reynolds (20) ready for the spike during the Lady Saints' match against Spring Creek Wednesday.

"Have we turned the corner? Maybe," Bandy said. "Beating Kinston yesterday was a big confidence builder. Today they proved they are maturing and what they are capable of."

Spring Creek (1-2), who defeated Southern Wayne in three in both team's openers, proved it was certainly capable of hanging with its county rival during the first game and into the middle stages of the second.

The first set featured seven ties and eight lead changes as the teams traded serves and never established consistent offensive momentum.

With scrappy play and the ability to take advantage of some unforced errors by the Saints (2-2), the Gators erased a 24-20 deficit to eventually claim the first. After a Southern Wayne miscue, Spring Creek's Melissa Campion served on six-straight points to boost the Gators past the Saints.

Campion had an ace, while Margo Sauter provided a kill during the comeback.

"They (Spring Creek) wanted that first game more than us," Bandy said.

The second set proved to be just as tight as the first in the early and middle stages with Spring Creek's Lorenda Brogden forcing the fifth tie with an ace that made the score 11-11.

From there, Southern Wayne found a rhythm that it never seemed to relinquish the rest of the match. With junior Katie Westfall at the service line, the Saints pushed ahead 16-11 and never looked back. After a kill by senior Jamie Niemond, fellow senior Scarlett Joyner put the second game away with two-straight aces.

"Serving hurt us, both theirs and ours," first-year Spring Creek coach Deanna Morris said. All three matches we lost we needed to do better at that."

Westfall served two aces early in the third to give her team an 8-3 edge in the third set that saw Southern Wayne deliver six aces. Charlie Garten's kill put the third game away at 25-13.

Keyed by seven more aces, including four by Sam Otellio that put the Saints up 23-7, Southern Wayne easily claimed the fourth 25-10.

"When you get down, it's hard to pick yourself back up," Morris said. "When conference season rolls around, we've got to be able to pick ourselves up. I used some people in some different spots, so hopefully we learned from this loss."

The Saints travel to South Central today in Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference play. The Gators resume play on August 30 at Spivey's Corner Midway.

"We wanted revenge since the day we lost to them (Spring Creek) and saw this game on the schedule," Bandy said. "After losing the first game, I have never seen a team that I coached respond the way they did today."