Beddingfield shocks Eastern Wayne
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 5, 2007 3:09 PM
WILSON -- Wilson Beddingfield made sure Eastern Wayne didn't run away and hide with the 2007 Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference regular-season volleyball title Thursday afternoon.
The Bruins provided the first blemish on the Warriors' once-perfect record with a pivotal 26-24, 26-24, 20-25, 19-25, 15-11 victory. Instead of claiming the championship outright, Eastern Wayne (16-1 overall) endured its first ECC defeat in eight tries this season.
Beddingfield (14-3) pulled within one game of the Warriors at 6-2 in league play.
"They didn't show up," said Eastern Wayne coach Bruce Burridge. "We didn't execute and we know we're better than that. I don't know how to be politically correct in saying this, but Beddingfield didn't beat us, we beat ourselves."
But the Bruins certainly bothered the Warriors, particularly Jean Best. The 6-foot-4 middle hitter constantly irritated Eastern Wayne's hitters by getting her hands on numerous balls at the net.
Beddingfield also mixed its offense by sending off-speed dumps over the net on the second hit. That caused confusion and disrupted the Warriors' offense, which couldn't execute its own plan -- stretch the defense with shots to the backline and corners.
"Our attack wasn't as crisp as it's been," said Burridge. "We couldn't pass a clean ball and had a hard time setting up the attack."
Best collected 13 of her 24 kills in the first two sets. Beddingfield controlled the tempo, and capitalized on Eastern Wayne's hitting and unforced miscues.
The Bruins led 2-0 and appeared poised for a sweep in the best-of-five affair.
However, they lost their intensity after building a four-point lead in the third set. Eastern Wayne rallied for a 9-9 tie on Brittani Billups' kill off Brooke Newsome's assist. That started a 6-0 run, which ended on Carrie Adams' kill off Billups' assist.
"Eastern Wayne is a good team and they're going to battle hard," said Beddingfield coach Stephanie Britt. "(With) anybody in our conference, you can't stop playing. Eastern Wayne is hard a team to beat 3-0, but I'll take a 'W' any day."
Jordei Osby (24 kills) and Alysa Artis helped the Warriors keep a four-point advantage. The Bruins fended off three set points before Billups (19 kills) pounded out a kill down the left sideline for a 25-20 win.
The Warriors dominated the fourth set and grabbed their biggest lead, 15-5, on Brianna Williams' service ace. Beddingfield pulled within 15-10, but Billups and Osby warmed up on the outside again. The duo combined for five kills to finish off the set 25-19.
Best annoyed the Eastern Wayne in the decisive fifth set with four kills during an early 5-1 run. Osby delivered three consecutive kills, all off Newsome feeds, to forge a 7-7 deadlock. Newsome finished with 45 assists.
The Bruins took the lead for good on Best's monster kill down the middle off Angia Dial's assist.
"(Best) bothered us mentally," said Burridge.
Carrie Adams' kill off a short serve return trimmed Beddingfield's advantage to 12-11. The Bruins collected the next three points on a Best kill and two Eastern Wayne hitting errors.
The Warriors suffered just their second regular-season conference loss in 18 outings and their fourth defeat overall in their last 37 matches.
Once they broke the post-game huddle, Eastern Wayne's players trudged into the bleachers and gathered their books. Tears flowed freely as they exited the gym and walked toward the bus.
"We just didn't get the job done," said Burridge, whose team committed 34 hitting errors and 17 unforced errors. "Of all the teams to do it against, it had to be Beddingfield and I hate that. We've got two more matches to win and we'll probably see them again in the conference tournament."
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