09/15/04 — Prep volleyball -- Elliott, Warriors sweep Saints

View Archive

Prep volleyball -- Elliott, Warriors sweep Saints

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 15, 2004 1:56 PM

Attacking at the right time.

Eastern Wayne, especially Kristin Elliott, benefited from its service game and had more fluidity on offense in a 25-20, 25-22, 25-20 conquest of archrival Southern Wayne on Tuesday afternoon.

Elliott served a match-high 11 aces with most coming after the Warriors fell behind in each set. The Saints struggled in their serve-receive game and suffered from communication issues throughout the afternoon.

"Her serving percentage had been horrible, but she started clicking," said Warriors coach Bruce Burridge, whose team served 17 aces on the day. "Kristin was awesome on her serves and that's the way she's been in the past.

"This year she didn't start out strong serving and tried to overpower everything. She's omitted some of the power and has been doing better."

The Warriors also attacked well in their new 6-2 offense installed by assistant coach Holly Van The team covered the floor well and when they communicated on passes, setters Meghan Pittman and Alicia Cox spread the hitting duties among Elliott, Anna Wilkins, Tiffany Frazier or Kindzy McDonald.

Elliott notched a match-leading eight kills. Wilkins provided six, while McDonald and Frazier combined for eight. Pittman and Cox combined for 12 assists.

"When everything is flowing right and we get good the pass, get the good set, we're great," Burridge said. "But, we've got to put it together. We played one hundred percent better, but we're not there yet.

"We're not where we need to be or where we can be."

Overall, seven Warriors recorded at least one kill in the three-set match.

"I've got to give Eastern Wayne some credit on hitting the ball with some aggression," second-year Saints coach Brian Bandy said. "They had some powerful hits, something my girls just don't want to do. We're happy just putting the ball over the net and seem to get nothing out of trying to hit the ball with any kind of force."

The Saints collected 19 kills, including six each from sophomore Charlie Garten and senior Jaimie Niemond. However, most of the attacks were off-speed hits that caught Eastern Wayne's defenders standing flat-footed.

Serve receive and lack of defensive movement victimized the Saints.

Southern Wayne built a five-point lead in the opening set, a 7-1 lead in the second set and owned as much as a three-point advantage in the final set. Each time one play on defense killed the Saints' momentum and enabled the Warriors to sneak back into the set.

Elliott did the damage in the first set, serving four aces in a five-point run. Wilkins added an off-speed kill after Elliott kept the point alive with a dig.

The Saints tied the set at 13-13, 15-15 and 16-16 before a serve error -- one of six on the afternoon -- gave the Warriors a sideout. Elliott won a joust against sophomore Bridget Parvin during a 6-2 run.

Elliott finished off Southern Wayne with three consecutive off-speed hits, including two off Pittman assists.

"All night long we did not play defense," Bandy said. "We had plays where I'd asked them who are your middle blockers. Then all three would go to the net the play after I say something to them.

"I can't coach them any harder. They know where to be. They've just got to execute."

Elliott, again, rallied the Warriors in the second set.

Trailing 13-9, Elliott serve two consecutive aces and the Saints committed a ball-handling error. Wilkins' middle kill off a loose ball and another Elliott ace tied the set at 13-13.

The teams traded points before Southern Wayne (2-11, 1-5 ECC) built a slim two-point margin. McDonald and Frazier each put down a kill off Cox assists to keep the Warriors within striking distance.

The Saints committed five straight ball-handling errors to give Eastern Wayne a two-game lead in the best-of-five match.

"We've got people who overplay and people who underplay," Bandy said. "I can correct an overplay, but the very next play we do the same thing. Until they learn to execute, it's going to be a long season."

Elliott's four consecutive aces and Cox's back-to-back aces helped the Warriors (2-4 ECC) take control in the final set. Frazier, Deniz Alemdar and McDonald each provided kills at key times for Eastern Wayne, which extended its win streak to a modest two games.

Once the players shook hands, Burridge herded his team into the back hallway behind the gym. The team looked mentally exhausted, but Burridge quickly picked up their spirits.

"I told them we need to work on some things and review the tape to see where we made our mistakes," Burridge said. "They were just sitting there flat. I told them to enjoy it. They won.

"But there are things we still need to fix and they know it."