10/21/07 — Eastern Wayne moves on with win straight-sets win

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Eastern Wayne moves on with win straight-sets win

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 21, 2007 2:04 AM

Bad passes.

Inconsistent serving.

Miscommunication on offense.

No wonder Eastern Wayne volleyball coach Bruce Burridge said his team needed to "clean" up its game after a not-so-tidy 25-13, 25-16, 25-14 postseason victory over Northern Guilford on Saturday afternoon.

Sure the Warriors served 25 aces, but they also committed eight service errors. Outside hitters Jordei Osby and Brittani Billups struggled in an offense that seemed more like a rambling wreck than a well-oiled machine that posted 20 victories during regular-season and conference tournament play.

"I told the girls we played well enough to win," said Burridge. "(But) we can't have that. That's not going to work or get us as far as we want to go (in the playoffs).

"We need to step up and clean it up."

Eastern Wayne (21-1 overall) gets one practice day to fine-tune its offense before perennial power South Central comes to New Hope on Tuesday. The second-round N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A match is tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m.

Despite appearing in the postseason a year ago and advancing two rounds, the more-experienced Warriors never found a rhythm against the Nighthawks, a first-year team. Miscues in the serve game and uncharacteristic ball-handling miscues concerned Burridge.

And senior setter Brooke Newsome.

"It probably was a little nerves and even some of the girls said they were nervous, but we shouldn't have them at all," said Newsome. "It should have been treated like it was any other game during the season, and not think about that it's the state playoffs.

"Our coach told us to play better than our last game, but we didn't ... really."

Northern Guilford, which finished the year 5-14 overall, couldn't generate a consistent offensive attack, either. Serving to different spots, either short or just inside the 3-meter line, the Warriors disrupted the Nighthawks' serve-receive game.

Plus, the visitors surrendered 14 points on serving errors.

"It could have been a little more competitive, I think," said Northern Guilford coach Sharon Parks, who admitted her team didn't play a sharp serving game. "Our kids were nervous ... deer in the headlights kind of thing. You could tell we were young and green.

"There were, at times, five freshmen on the court."

Northern Guilford permitted a 14-6 run to end game one and fell behind early in the second game. But two hitting errors and Lynsey Elliott's ace put the Nighthawks ahead 14-12 and nearly silenced a partisan Warrior crowd.

Eastern Wayne answered with a four-point run that included two Billups kills and an Alysa Artis kill -- all off Newsome assists. Two sideouts later, Billups served up six aces in a game-clinching 7-0 spurt.

The Warriors fed off Northern Guilford errors to build an eight-point advantage in the decisive third game. Samantha Coffer's solo block against Osby and a hitting error closed the gap to 18-13.

Osby, however, answered with a solo block and kill as Eastern Wayne reeled off six of the final seven points to complete the three-game sweep.

Osby finished with six kills and three blocks. Billups contributed eight kills and one block. Newsome finished with just 17 assists, well below her season average.

Notes: Artis injured her left knee during the third game and went home on crutches. Burridge did not know the extent of the injury. ... The Warriors have won three playoff games at home and 38 of 42 matches overall since last year.