09/06/07 — St. Andrews drops Mount Olive

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St. Andrews drops Mount Olive

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 6, 2007 1:48 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Excited and eager to play on its homecourt, the Mount Olive College women's volleyball team opened its Conference Carolinas schedule in disappointing fashion Wednesday evening.

In-state rival St. Andrews continued its recent mastery over the Trojans with a 32-30, 31-29, 21-30, 30-27 victory at Kornegay Arena. The league-leading Knights remained unbeaten in three conference matches and earned their third consecutive win over Mount Olive.

The Trojans (3-6 overall) lost a home opener for the second straight year.

"Everybody felt like they were ready to play, but we didn't come out and execute," said MOC senior outside hitter Sam Mitchell. "We didn't have good practices the past two days and our coach (Sasha Gutor) told us we lost the game two days ago because we weren't prepared for tonight.

"We didn't play as hard as we should have; didn't play to our potential."

Mount Olive, in fact, decided to play too late.

In each of the first two games, St. Andrews controlled the tempo and held sizable leads. The Knights led 29-24 when the Trojans reeled off five consecutive points in game one.

Alicia Mote, a sophomore outside hitter, recorded a solo block and kill to start the late-game surge. Corie Skislak's off-speed shot and Racey Bartley's service ace created a 29-29 tie.

Skislak knotted the score at 30-30 on a kill, but St. Andrews answered with back-to-back slams from Tara Lemieux and sophomore Galina Podolsky.

Unforced errors enabled the Knights to gain some breathing room in the second game at 23-19. The Trojans climbed within 23-21 on Kailey Peece's kill off Lemieux's solo block attempt and Mitchell's kill off a double block.

Another Mitchell kill closed the gap to 24-23 before Podolsky converted three consecutive slide kills from the right side. However, the Knights couldn't keep the momentum and watched the Trojans forge another 29-29 tie.

Freshmen Leah Davison and Kelly Williams finished off game two with consecutive kills.

"We're working on the final steps in practice, trying to get them to put everything together and play complete games," said MOC assistant coach Sara Christie. "The opponent gets 29 points and all of sudden, we decide to start playing. It's the third game before it kicks in that now we really have to play.

"We need to get it in their heads that we have to play from the beginning to end, and no pauses in between. If we can do that, we'll be OK."

Mitchell delivered two of her match-high 25 kills to start game three. The Trojans raced to a 9-3 lead and kept that advantage behind the hitting of Mitchell, Mote (14 kills) and Bartley (14 kills).

St. Andrews pulled within 26-20 on Podolsky's shot down the line, but Mote provided back-to-back kills. Bartley's kill and a hitting error allowed Mount Olive to force a fourth game.

The Trojans grabbed a 23-20 lead late in game four, but yielded five consecutive points. Lemieux and Williams combined for two kills and a block during that stretch.

Mount Olive trimmed the deficit to one point on two occasions, but couldn't pick up the sideout when needed. Lindsey Stansbury's rip down the line closed out the match and sent the Trojans to their 13th league loss in their last 21 outings.

"We pushed really hard to get ahead and then we kind of relaxed," said Mitchell of the final game. "We can still do a lot more than what we showed tonight. We just didn't bring it, I guess."