09/28/07 — Eastern Wayne sweeps Southern Wayne

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Eastern Wayne sweeps Southern Wayne

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on September 28, 2007 3:11 PM

Following her team's straight-set defeat against reigning Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference co-champion Eastern Wayne on Thursday afternoon, second-year Southern Wayne coach Colby Mangum was frustrated -- to say the least.

Then again, most coaches and teams exit with a baffled demeanor after losing to the Warriors, now a program-best 14-0 overall and 6-0 against ECC opposition. Only the Saints' 25-21, 25-14, 25-14 setback left Mangum wondering where was the same team that swept a county rival just 48 hours ago?

"This is probably the most disappointing loss we've had all season," Mangum said. "I don't feel like we played our game. This is not the team that played on Tuesday ... we're not the same people. That's what it seems like on the court right now anyway."

After a bit of film study prior to the match, the Warriors came out focused and set the tone early in game one with seven kills and five service aces. Aces from Brittani Billups, Carrie Adams and Regan Stoneburner helped turn an 8-7 lead into a 16-9 cushion.

The Saints closed to within 23-18. Billups added another kill and an ace, and Jordei Osby recorded a solo block to close out game one 25-21.

"I was a lot more pleased with today's performance than Wednesday's," Eastern Wayne coach Bruce Burridge said. "Our serving was more consistent today than it was the last couple of games. We sometimes have a problem with taking charge early and letting up in the second game, but we'll finish.

"We came out and established everything from the get-go and that's what we look for."

The Saints fell behind 5-0 in game two, before battling back to tie things up. However, from that point, it was all Warriors. Eastern Wayne won 20 of the next 29 points, due in large part to five more kills from Billups and three aces from Emily Sparks.

Southern Wayne (3-7 overall, 3-3 ECC) managed just four kills total, while Billups and Osby worked to get their teammates involved. Seven Warriors finished with either a kill or an ace as Eastern Wayne took a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five match.

"We've experienced times where Brittany has been out there or Jordei has been out and everybody else has picked it up," Burridge said. "We are a total team package. Every girl pulls her own weight, whether they're a substitute coming off the bench or whatever.

"I have eight seniors this year, so I have more leadership than I know what to do with. They've meshed real well and that's huge."

Meanwhile, the Saints gave away 10 costly points off errors in both the first and second games, and at one point in the second game Southern Wayne was penalized for being out of rotation. The visible lack of concentration and effort left Magnum questioning her team's ability to perform despite being inexperienced.

"I think that we lack a lot of experience in winning," Magnum said. "I think sometimes our inexperience in pressure situations and our inexperience in winning hurts us. I think we came into today's game knowing this was a huge game.

"That's something we're not used to. We'll get better in time. It just takes experience to get used to winning."

Two more aces from Brooke Newsome sandwiched around a kills from Billups helped Eastern Wayne climb on top 4-0 in game three. Five unanswered points helped the Saints climb within 8-7, but they had no answer for the Warriors bevy of kills or pin-point serves.

The Warriors tallied five aces down the stretch, and Billups and Osby combined for three more kills to close out the final game at 25-14. Southern Wayne coughed up 12 points on miscues in game three and managed only five kills.

Billups finished with 11 kills and three aces. Newsome added seven aces and Osby chipped in four kills. Christy Weaver had four kills for Southern Wayne.