09/12/07 — Eastern Wayne sweeps Southern Wayne

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Eastern Wayne sweeps Southern Wayne

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 12, 2007 1:48 PM

DUDLEY -- Eastern Wayne executed its serving game to near perfection and began defense of its Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference title in victorious fashion Tuesday afternoon.

The Warriors logged just seven aces, but used the court well to disrupt the Saints in a 25-20, 25-12, 25-15 decision. Eastern Wayne remained unbeaten in eight outings, while Southern Wayne exited 0-4 overall.

"We noticed when we saw them last week, we noticed that they don't cover the floor very well," said Eastern Wayne head coach Bruce Burridge. "We decided to mix it up, drop it around to see where we could move the ball (on serve). We've got good serve control when we're on, but we can be off just like everybody else.

"Tonight, it worked to our advantage."

Eastern Wayne constantly served to the midcourt area and angled balls just inside the 3-meter line, which stretched the Saints' three-man serve receive. Backline passers Ashley Davis, Meredith Davis and Jordan Coor failed to consistently get the ball to setter Lydija Selimovic.

The frustrated Saints, instead, scrambled all over the court for loose balls and sent numerous passes over the net. The Warriors' ploy worked perfectly as they pounded out 10 kills in 12 attempts with one hitting error during a 22-point stretch.

Senior outside hitters Jordei Osby and Brittani Billups supplied five kills apiece, all off assists from Brooke Newsome, during the phenomenal run. Overall, the Warriors collected 42 kills as a team and flirted with a .300 hitting percentage during the match.

Newsome dished out a match-high 32 assists.

"The girls are hungry. We've been having good nights hitting," said Burridge, who is 13-0 all-time against the Saints. "The (offensive) stuff we're putting in, we're starting to gel and work together. We've struggled with our passing at times, but it's all coming together.

"The last few matches we've played, everything has clicked."

Southern Wayne's inability to receive serves concerned second-year coach Colby Mangum.

"We just could not serve receive today. Couldn't do it," she said. "With the serve receive we run, there is a hole. Our problem is you have to learn to fill the hole.

"We don't react and we are very mechanical. We do exactly what we're supposed to do and there is no adaption (to the other team)."

Southern Wayne compounded its troubles with poor serving. The Saints committed 10 service errors and scored just 11 points off their serve in the three-game loss.

Eastern Wayne forced 19 sideouts.

Mangum attributed part of her team's offensive troubles to hitters re-adjusting to Semlovic, who missed three weeks with a back injury. Semlovic finished with just five assists in her return.

"Offensively, we are unstable right now," said Mangum. "You can see a little bit of inexperience in our players, too. And with them having double the matches we've had, that's a big factor ... huge."

The Warriors opened game one with an 8-0 run and game three with a 6-0 run. They trailed 4-1 in game two, but seized command at 7-4 on a Billups kill and Brianna Williams' service ace.

Eastern Wayne eventually closed the second game with an 8-0 spurt.

Osby suffered a right ankle injury in the third game and sophomore Natalya Dungee contributed three kills in her absence. Osby hobbled off the court and is expected to see a doctor today.