09/03/08 — Hawks pull out five-set thriller

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Hawks pull out five-set thriller

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on September 3, 2008 1:10 PM

Eastern Wayne's volleyball team was so close to their first win Tuesday afternoon, they could almost taste it.

But North Lenoir prevailed 19-25, 25-17, 27-29, 25-21, 15-8 and spoiled the Warriors' appetite instead.

"This was a heartbreaker ... a real tough loss," said Warriors head coach Steve Gregorcyk. "We played so well early, and looked a lot better in our transition game, but it wasn't enough."

With the match tied at one game each, the Warriors battled to take the third game behind strong serving by Anna Hajjar and two timely kills by Megan Hruby. The Hawks were unable to establish any continuity offensively, and failed to string together more than three points in a row.

"It looked to me, by the looks on their faces, that nobody out there wanted the ball to come to them," said North Lenoir head coach Heather Carson. "I don't know if it was because we didn't have school, and weren't practicing because of the holiday, but I told them that we would never do that again."

In game four, the Hawks regained their composure despite continued serving woes.

Marissa Lanier provided four of her team-high 15 kills as the Hawks took control of the back-and-forth match. Jordan Hudson finished the effort with a perfectly placed serve that was played but never returned by the Warriors.

"One thing I will give this team is that they never quit," said Carson. "They got behind, but they stayed in it and they battled until the final point."

Despite the early action, the deciding fifth game was the most decisive North Lenoir triumph of the night.

The teams traded serves for the game's first eight points.

With the game tied at four, Jaime Phillips took over and delivered eight consecutive service points. The rally put North Lenoir in front 12-4 and essentially sealed the Warrior's fate.

"We executed pretty well with the bump, set, spike strategy that I wanted to see, but we were a little out-gunned in height," said Gregorcyk. "We weren't able to stop them at the net and in the end it caught up with us."

Brittney McKinney served three aces for the Warriors, while teammate Caitlin Turner contributed four aces.

Eastern Wayne (0-4 overall) returns to action Saturday at Havelock.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, North Lenoir improved to 6-0 heading into today's match with Kinston.

"We played four games against Eastern Wayne last time, and five today, but at least we know we can go the distance," said Carson. "We just need to get back in the habit of talking to each other and improving our communication."