09/06/07 — Eastern Wayne too much for Princeton

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Eastern Wayne too much for Princeton

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on September 6, 2007 1:48 PM

There were moments against Princeton where Eastern Wayne appeared dominant with strong serves, crisp passes and solid kills.

Then there were other moments of mental errors and misplayed hits.

Thankfully, for coach Bruce Burridge, there were more positives in the end as his Warriors topped Princeton 27-25, 25-12, 15-25, 25-12 on Wednesday evening.

"It took us a while to get going," said Burridge. "We're working in some new things and we're confused at times trying to work out the new stuff."

The transition in learning new positions and offensive strategies has been difficult at times for the Warriors, but so far, the end result has been positive. Eastern Wayne remained perfect in five outings and swept the regular-season series against Princeton (1-4 overall).

"I can see a lot of improvement from last week, but there are still some things we have to work on," said Princeton coach Trudy Rast. "We need to work on our court coverage and our kills. But overall I was pleased with how we did."

The Warriors and Bulldogs played an even first game with neither team leading by more than five points. With the score tied at 13-13, Princeton rattled off five straight points behind the serves of Amber Wood to go ahead 18-13.

Eastern Wayne answered with a late 6-1 run to tie the game at 22-22. The Warriors then got kills from Alysa Artis and two from Jordei Osby to keep the game tied at 25-25.

The Warriors took the first game 27-25 when Brittany Baker's kill attempt sailed out of bounds for the Bulldogs.

In game two, the Warriors put together a dominant effort. After leading 9-8, Eastern Wayne rolled off 16 of the next 20 points to win 25-12.

It looked as if game three would end the match when the Warriors led 8-3. Princeton had other ideas and made a run with some brilliant digs from Ashley Braswell to go ahead 13-12.

"Eastern Wayne's a great team so I was really pleased with our girls being able to dig out some of those shots," said Rast.

The run grew with the Warriors having trouble returning serves and making passes as the Bulldogs rolled to a 25-15 win with help from two of Braswell's team-high four aces.

"Ashley's a strong player," said Rast. "Strong server, strong in the net and pretty good on the back row."

In the fourth and final game of the evening, the tall, intimidating front line of Brittani Billups and Osby took over.

Billups registered two of her 11 kills to put the Warriors ahead 11-6 and altered countless return shots from the Bulldogs. Osby though, struggled to keep her return shots in bounds.

After spending some time on the bench, Osby returned more focused. In an 8-3 spurt she threw down four kills to put the Warriors ahead comfortably 23-12. Osby finished with nine kills and four blocks.

"That's her," said Burridge of Osby's play. "She kind of has to think real hard at some things. With her and Brittani, we're changing a lot for them and they have to get things together."

Brianna Williams, who had five aces on the day, finished off the Bulldogs with back-to-back aces for the 25-12 win.

The Warriors were led by Brooke Newsome's 26 assists while Williams tallied 16 digs.

Even with his team's inconsistent play, Burridge was all smiles at the conclusion of the match.

"We did have to recover on a few things, but that's part of not knowing our position because we're changing things," he said. "We're having more good moments than bad moments so far, so that's a good thing."