09/07/07 — Gators roll over Wayne Christian

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Gators roll over Wayne Christian

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on September 7, 2007 2:44 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- It seems fitting that the Spring Creek volleyball team plays in a sweltering gymnasium.

And the Gators are red-hot, just like the steaming temperatures that greet guests when they venture into "The Swamp." Spring Creek remained unbeaten in five outings with a 25-16, 25-17, 25-22 non-conference conquest of county foe Wayne Christian on Thursday evening.

The Gators are off to their best start in school history.

"Several of my girls played club ball which helped. Plus, a lot have been playing together since they were freshmen," said Spring Creek coach Deanna Morris. "They're all working really well together right now."

Especially Tasha Whitfield and Kristin Smith. Whitfield provided eight kills, five service aces and three blocks, while Smith (one block) supplied a 10-team high kills in the three-set sweep.

"Task's playing really well right now," said Morris. "She's made major strides since she was a freshman. It's just amazing. Even playing back row she goes a great job. Kristin's very talented and I think some college out there is going to take a look at her."

Wayne Christian (3-3 overall) put a talented and experienced team on the floor, which made Spring Creek's victory more impressive.

"I think Wayne Christian's a good team," said Morris. "They're well coached, and have a group of players that have been playing together for a while so this is a big win for us against a tough team."

The Gators bolted to a 17-8 lead and wrapped up game one, 25-16. The Eagles, of the Class 1-A Carolina Christian Conference ranks, struggled with its passing game and committed countless hitting errors.

"There's a couple of things we need to work on, but overall we did not give up," said Wayne Christian coach Dawn Norris.

The Eagles didn't fold after the rough start and played even with the Gators the rest of the night. The tall front line of Katie Daniels and Hope Wright either blocked or altered several Spring Creek kill attempts.

"Hope's blocking really kept us in the game," said Norris.

Following a kill by Daniels -- one of her game-high 11 during the match -- the Eagles pulled to within 19-17 in game two.

The Gators though, rattled off six straight points behind the serving of Whitfield, who had two aces in that span, to win the game.

Wayne Christian again showed its resiliency in the match's final game. Daniels and Traci Davis registered back-to-back kills to give Wayne Christian a 9-8 advantage.

"Traci, her passing and play was incredible," said Norris. "Katie played one of her best games of the season."

Spring Creek struggled to get any consistent scoring as unforced errors constantly led to Wayne Christian points. The Eagles owned a 20-18 advantage, but couldn't keep the momentum.

Smith earned a sideout with a kill and the Gators reeled off five of the next six points to force match point. Whitfield preserved Spring Creek's unbeaten season with a kill.

The Eagles' Allison Rose dished out a game-high 15 assists, while Davis contributed 11. Brooke Albertson handed out 13 assists for the Gators.

Spring Creek opens its Carolina 1-A Conference schedule next Tuesday at reigning co-champion Princeton. Wayne Christian steps back into CCC play at Erwin Cape Fear Christian.

"We definitely have high expectations, but we still have to play smart," said Morris. "If we can play smart we'll go a long ways."