North Duplin spikers sweep Wayne Christian
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 30, 2006 1:46 PM
Nearly three weeks into the season, the Wayne Christian volleyball team continues to search for a consistent serve-receive game.
Two matches into its regular-season slate, North Duplin looked like a seasoned team Tuesday afternoon at Clifford Gymnasium. The Rebels capitalized on numerous Eagles miscues in their service game and prevailed 25-19, 25-16, 25-23.
"We really passed the ball well and had good serve receive," said North Duplin coach Heather Best. "It was better than the game we had against Hobbton. There was a lot of improvement. They played more like a team today and are coming together very well."
The loss shocked veteran Wayne Christian coach Dawn Norris. The Eagles finished third in a season-opening tournament and looked as if they'd found some team chemistry that was missing a year ago. But Norris' squad struggled with their serve-receive game this past weekend in a tournament at Albemarle Academy.
"They haven't gotten the teamwork together where they trust each other and they wait for somebody else to do it instead of being aggressive (themselves)," said Norris, whose team failed to return 47 passes against the Rebels. "We should have team chemistry, but we had the same problem last year where we couldn't get that chemistry.
"Our first tournament, we did excellent and I thought it was going to be a wonderful year. Since then, we've taken a step back."
Wayne Christian yielded 20 service aces and compounded its receiving woes with 10 additional errors, either on the first or second pass. The Eagles committed another 22 unforced errors -- mainly ball-handling and hitting mistakes -- in the 95-minute, non-conference affair.
The first 13 points of the opening set defined the match.
North Duplin (2-0) tallied five service aces, including three by Brittany Carr, and built a 10-3 lead. Heather Hudson provided two kills off assists from Vanessa Lynch and Julie Ivey during that stretch.
Best couldn't have asked for a better start.
"I tell my girls over and over, I don't care how many good hitters you've got," said Best. "If you can't pass the ball, you're not going to set up the hit. I really stress having good passing and I think our passing developed (during the match).
"Once we settled down and got our passing under control, the hits came."
Hudson emerged North Duplin's top hitter with 12 kills. Carr added five, while Ivey and Casey Pate each contributed three. Lynch dished out 10 assists for the Rebels, who earned their first three-set sweep of the season.
"Heather does a real good job at the net," said Best. "She knows the game and reads the ball well."
Wayne Christian (5-7) recorded 15 kills in its sporadic offense. Middle hitters Katie Daniels and Hope Wright combined for nine kills. Daniels also had three solo blocks.
"We couldn't return it and that set them up for their offense," said Norris. "Where some teams have one or two hitters, we've got four or five hitters. We should be non-stop on offense where the other has to play defense all the time.
"We had to play defense all the time."
North Duplin used the aces to build early-set leads throughout the afternoon.
Wayne Christian erased a 16-13 deficit in the third set and eventually seized a 17-16 lead on Charlie Ipock's ace. The Rebels forged a 19-19 tie on Hudson's kill and Carr's sixth ace of the match.
Hudson pounded out two more kills and Carr served another ace to make it 22-19. The Eagles pulled within 24-23, but gave away the match-clinching set on a service error.
"We've got to regroup and move forward," said Norris.
Notes: Wayne Christian returns all six starters and has just one senior, Michelle Krug, on its 11-player roster. ... The Rebels lost five seniors, but return three starters.
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