Archrival duel: Rebels claim five-set match in league play
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on September 24, 2008 11:21 AM
By RYAN HANCHETT
News-Argus Sports Writer
CALYPSO -- North Duplin and Spring Creek met on the volleyball court for a pivotal Class 1-A Carolina Conference showdown on Tuesday.
And the Rebels completed first-half play in thrilling fashion with a 25-17, 25-16, 13-25, 19-25, 18-16 triumph over the Gators. The five-game match had multiple momentum shifts.
"This was a big win for our girls, not just because it was a conference match, but because it's the only time we get to play Spring Creek here at home," said North Duplin head coach Heather Best. "The girls all know each other, and we have a friendly rivalry."
During the deciding game, Spring Creek jumped out to a 12-7 advantage behind a strong effort from senior middle hitter Kristin Smith. Back-to-back kills from Smith, who posted 19 kills, appeared to set the Gators up for a comeback win.
"Kristin is a dominating player and she showed that in the final game," said Best. "We know how strong she is and we knew it would take a great effort to contain her."
The Rebels turned the tide thanks to two key blocks from freshman Tearra Ammons.
"For such a young player, she reads hitters very well," said Best. "She is still learning the game, but she showed her potential tonight."
North Duplin served twice to win the match before Skylar McCarty finally delivered the game-winning serve at 17-16.
As the Rebels celebrated, Spring Creek head coach Deanna Morris thought about a win that got away. The Gators (6-6) fell to 2-3 in league play.
"You have to play with heart and intensity from the beginning. You can't wait until the third game to turn it on," said Morris. "We came out flat in the first two games, and by the time we got it going it was too late."
North Duplin (5-4 overall, 3-2 Carolina) captured the first two games thanks to strong front line play and several unforced Spring Creek errors.
Middle hitter Scarlett Martin impressed early with her defensive play.
"Scarlett was strong at the beginning. She set the tone for us at the net," said Best. "Being a young player, it was good to see her come out and deliver a couple kills."
Morris was so upset at the conclusion of the second game, that she slammed her clipboard to the floor. As the clipboard careened toward the Gators' sideline so did the match's momentum.
"I had to get theatrical," said Morris. "I had done everything else. I had to make a statement. The girls know when I get to that point, that it's time to pay attention."
The Gators won games three and four handily before dropping the deciding game.
"I think our girls lost focus," said Best. "I think, ahead two games, we got cocky and then we got tired when they started taking it to us."
Angelica Favela led North Duplin with four service aces. Katlyn Eloshway delivered points on serve.
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