09/14/05 — Volleyball -- Warriors roll past SW

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Volleyball -- Warriors roll past SW

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 14, 2005 2:05 PM

DUDLEY -- Anything that could go wrong did for Southern Wayne's volleyball team Tuesday afternoon while archrival Eastern Wayne nearly lived in the lap of luxury.

The Warriors benefited from numerous unforced errors and got strong frontline efforts from hitters Carley Boyette and Anna Wilkins in a 25-18, 25-13, 25-22 victory. Boyette and Wilkins combined for 13 kills and five blocks as Eastern Wayne defeated the Saints for the 12th time in their last 13 meetings.

It was the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference opener for both teams.

Seventh-year Warrior head coach Bruce Burridge found little fault with his team's performance in the 92-minute contest. But he did say his players lacked a killer instinct -- which appeared late in each set when Eastern Wayne struggled to close out the scrappy Saints.

The Warriors converted just 3-of-13 set-point opportunities.

"When we get a bite on them, we can't let them go, but we do," said Burridge, whose team owned a double-digit advantage in every set. "We've got to learn that when we get somebody in our teeth, we need to swallow. We're scared to finish ... hesitant to put the game away as a winner, not a loser.

"It's a weird situation, but it will come."

Despite committing a whopping 38 unforced errors, Southern Wayne (1-6) refused to quit.

Trailing 22-11 in the opening set, the Saints unleashed a 5-2 run that included Charlie Garten and Katie Westfall kills -- each off an assist from Brittany Smith. Rachel Reynolds added a service ace and Garten's second kill closed the gap to 24-18.

Eastern Wayne finally put the set away on an offensive mistake by the Saints, who drew a net violation on Westfall's kill attempt. The Warriors' Boyette and Leanna Rothwell kept the point alive with defensive digs as the Saints attempted off-speed hits to midcourt.

Wilkins provided one kill and one block as the Warriors raced to a 9-2 lead in the second set. The advantage ballooned to 24-10 before Southern Wayne ... again ... refused to easily relinquish set point.

Bridgett Parvin delivered a kill and followed up with an ace to deny Eastern Wayne set-clinching points at 24-11 and 24-12. The Warriors committed a serve-receive error to make it 24-13.

Wilkins finished off the Saints with a kill off Emily Sasser's assist.

"We worked on some new things yesterday, like a back-row attack and the first two games, we made it work," Burridge said. "For some reason, the third game is always our nemesis. All of a sudden we start over-thinking things ... worrying about trying not to lose instead of normally doing what we need to win."

Eastern Wayne committed 13 unforced errors in the finally set, but Southern Wayne obliged with 17 miscues of its own. Wilkins collected three kills, two blocks and four digs.

The Saints whittled away a 10-point deficit to 19-15 on Garten's mid-court kill off Jacqueline Venegas' assist. Warrior errors enabled Southern Wayne to climb within 21-18 and 23-20. Westfall's kill off Boyette's block attempt helped the Saints fend off another set point at 24-21.

The next point personified the two teams' play. Southern Wayne served and the Warriors appeared to commit a serve-receive error. But Deniz Alemdar made a diving save out of bounds on a third hit.

The Saints' first pass hit the roof beams and no one covered the ball, which quickly dropped to the floor.

"They're a scrappy team and you have to give them credit for that," said Burridge of Southern Wayne. "They never quit and that's going to help them in the future."

Both teams continue ECC play Thursday. Eastern Wayne entertains Wilson Hunt, while Wilson Beddingfield is the guest of Southern Wayne. Each match starts at 4:30 p.m.