09/20/06 — ECC volleyball showdown - E. Wayne drops match at Beddingfield

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ECC volleyball showdown - E. Wayne drops match at Beddingfield

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 20, 2006 2:15 PM

WILSON -- Somewhere between the end of game three and beginning of game four, the Eastern Wayne volleyball team lost its focus Tuesday evening.

During that same time, perennial power Wilson Beddingfield shook off its disadvantageous position and eluded the Warriors' upset bid. Barbara deRatt and 6-foot-4 middle hitter Jean Best combined for five kills in the final game, and the Bruins prevailed 22-25, 25-22, 18-25, 25-15, 15-4.

Beddingfield (12-3) seized sole possession of first place in the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference race at 3-0. Eastern Wayne (6-2) endured its first defeat in three league contests.

Sixth-year Warriors coach Bruce Burridge couldn't explain his team's lapse of concentration in the final two games. Eastern Wayne committed 19 unforced errors games in four and five combined. The visitors stayed in defensive mode as Beddingfield rallied for its 13th consecutive regular-season victory against ECC opposition.

"My girls didn't quit, but they stopped trying to win ... lost the attack," said a disheartened Burridge. "We didn't serve-receive well and once we stopped transition (play) that was the key because that left too much room on the court.

"You can't take anything away from the other team, but they didn't win. We beat ourselves; a team thing and not any one individual person. Heck, I'll take the blame for it, too."

Beddingfield hadn't dropped a game in conference play this season until it fell behind 2-1 against Eastern Wayne. deRatt, the Bruins' middle hitter, said the team just relaxed and stopped thinking too much after the third game.

"We started having fun and didn't take it as seriously; just played through all the adversity that was going on," said deRatt, who collected a team-high 13 kills and four blocks. "That fourth game, we decided to just play and do what we do best."

The Bruins grabbed early momentum in the fourth game with a 6-2 run. Best served several short balls that disrupted the Warriors' passing game and helped create unforced errors.

Eastern Wayne pulled within 10-6 behind middle hitter Anna Wilkins, who provided two kills to go along with two Beddingfield errors. deRatt picked up where Best left off at the service line and delivered three aces.

The Bruins owned a commanding 17-6 lead.

"We just let everything go and started to play," first-year Beddingfield head coach Stephanie Britt said. "Eastern Wayne was having more fun (the first three games) than we were and that just shouldn't happen in our house.

"We put our shoulder to the wheel and started playing."

Callie Ellis' kill off deRatt's assist closed out the fourth game.

The Warriors committed three consecutive unforced errors to start the final game and never recovered. Outside hitter Brittanni Billups closed the Bruins' gap to 6-3 on a deep backcourt kill, but Beddingfield reeled nine of the final 10 points to seal the comeback win.

"We're just not finishing our game," said Burridge. "We start out strong and don't maintain. The first game we played well, killed the ball and covered all over the court.

"The wheels just fell off from there. We have to learn to find that killer instinct, hold the momentum that we pick up from the first game."

Best bothered the Warriors in the opening game, but Burridge's club continued to attack the net behind Wilkins, Billups and Jordei Osby. The trio combined for six kills and three blocks as Eastern Wayne rallied late for the 25-22 win.

deRatt's unassisted kill closed out game two and forged a 1-1 tie.

Eastern Wayne grabbed the early advantage in game three and built as much as a 10-point lead. Billups, Osby, Wilkins and Carly Boyette emerged the offensive leaders during that stretch.

Beddingfield climbed within 24-18, but Wilkins finished off the game with a solo block against Best.

Burridge said that third-game effort was sorely missed in the final two games.

"When we got good passing, the blocks didn't hurt us but we stopped going for the kill because of a block or two," said Burridge. "It took us out of our rhythm."

Billups piled up a career-high 20 kills to go along with a solo block and a block assist. Wilkins and Osby each recorded eight kills, while Osby added two solo blocks.

Setter Brooke Newsome dished out 28 assists.

The Warriors owned a 41-40 edge in kills. The Bruins had nine solo blocks and 10 service aces. Best complemented deRatt's effort with 10 kills and four solo blocks.

"They are a really good team and they are going to be very strong competition for us," said deRatt.