10/14/09 — Rosewood clinches share of league crown

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Rosewood clinches share of league crown

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 14, 2009 1:46 PM

Part one is done.

Part two is next.

Rosewood clinched a share of the Class 1-A Carolina Conference regular-season volleyball championship with a 25-12, 25-20, 25-11 victory over North Duplin on Tuesday evening. The Eagles claimed their first league crown since 2006 and third overall during Jennifer Cochran's tenure as head coach.

Cochran's squad can clinch the title outright and the No. 1 seed for the upcoming state playoffs with a win Thursday at long-time nemesis Princeton. The Dawgs set up the decisive contest with a five-set thriller over Ayden-Grifton.

"I think we've really pulled it together ... lot of faith and belief with God helping us along the way," said Cochran, whose team started the season 0-5. "This group of girls really believes they can do it and that's something we haven't had in a long time. I had a real peace (about me) that they were going to take care of business (today)."

While Rosewood (12-7 overall, 9-0 CC) emerged victorious from the three-set affair, some of the "winners" did not attend the late-season match. The two schools donated the proceeds, including admission and concession sales, to the Kay Yow WBCA Cancer Fund.

The teams raised $508 in their previous meeting Sept. 24 in Calypso.

"A lot of us here have been touched by cancer in one way or another," said Cochran. "These girls have worked hard and this cause is very dear to all of us. We definitely thank everyone for their support."

Middle hitter Taylor Johnson celebrated senior night with a 16-kill, three-block effort. Fellow seniors Brittney Cabala, Brittney McGill and Karen Babb each turned solid individual performances for the Eagles, who triumph for the 12th time in their last 14 outings.

Sophomore middle hitter Tearra Ammons paced North Duplin with six kills and a match-high five blocks. Hannah Brock dished out 10 assists, while Scarlett Martin contributed five kills and one block.

Rosewood capitalized on unforced errors, Johnson's strong hitting and big runs to put away North Duplin in the first and third sets.

Ammons and Johnson staged a net war during the second set. A returning starter, Ammons recorded back-to-back blocks to pull the Rebels within 17-16. Two points later, Ammons served consecutive aces to put North Duplin ahead 20-18.

McGill, who played libero, connected on a successful back-row attack for a sideout. Johnson served four aces and Rachael Kornegay (six kills) put away two kills to close out the set.

"I thought Tearra did a good job blocking Taylor ... pretty much the battle of the blockers and should be commended for how well she played," said Cochran. "Taylor played another game tonight and helped us more from the service line than she did the front row. She just did a great job. All the seniors did a wonderful job tonight."

Setters Alyssa Spell and Stephanie Hall dished out 15 and six assists, respectively, for the Eagles.

The Rebels (7-9, 4-5) suffered their third consecutive loss.

"It's extremely frustrating because that second set is how we should have played them all night," said North Duplin head coach Heather Best. "It's like Vince Lombardi said, 'winning isn't everything, but wanting to win is' and we really wanted that second set.

"I'm trying to take the positives and go with it."