10/28/09 — NCISAA - Oakwood knocks out W. Christian in 5 sets

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NCISAA - Oakwood knocks out W. Christian in 5 sets

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 28, 2009 1:47 PM

Win for the seniors.

Head coach Rick Moore offered that advice to Wayne Christian's underclassmen in Monday afternoon's practice, just 24 hours before the team's playoff opener against The Oakwood School.

"This is the seniors' last week," said Moore. "Are you going to give it everything for them?"

The Eagles did, but came up short.

Sophomore middle hitter Caroline Collier delivered eight of her match-high 31 kills in the decisive fifth set as Oakwood prevailed 26-24, 24-26, 22-25, 27-25, 15-8 inside Clifford Gymnatorium on Tuesday evening.

Oakwood (16-3 overall) drew a date against two-time defending N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A state champion Statesville Christian on Friday. First serve is noon at Wayne Christian.

Tears flowed as the Eagles walked to the end line and then circled toward the net to shake hands. Seniors Crissi Brogneaux, Hanna Kaler and Kaitlyn Kosuda huddled in a group and hugged each other while Oakwood celebrated on the other side of the net.

"We wanted to win for the seniors," said Moore. "I'm proud of the girls. They played their hearts out. They gave it every single thing they had."

Middle hitter Ellen Clark, a junior, complemented Collier with a 28-kill effort. Freshman setter Lauren Moore dished out 52 assists for Oakwood, which claimed its first-ever playoff victory in school history.

Brittney O'Hara paced Wayne Christian with 15 kills, while Kosuda recorded seven kills. Kaler handed out 19 assists and cranked out eight kills in the two-hour contest.

The teams battled through 29 ties and 14 lead changes.

Kosuda and O'Hara each logged a set-tying kill in the opening set before Oakwood responded with Collier's kill and Ashley Cooke's service ace. The Eagles (21-7) claimed the second set on O'Hara's off-speed kill that landed just inside the 3-meter line.

Summer Brathwaite won a joust against Collier on a pivotal third-set point to make it 23-20. O'Hara followed with back-to-back kills off Kaler assists to close out the set and give the Eagles a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five match.

Collier and Clark combined for 14 kills in the fourth set. Each benefited from a blocking error to keep Oakwood in the match. Collier's kill secured the match.

"They were clicking," said Moore of Collier and Clark. "We never got a block on them and they delivered."

Wayne Christian seized a 3-2 lead in the fifth set on kills from Brathwaite and O'Hara. Oakwood answered with a dominating 9-0 run that included six kills from Collier and a Cooke ace.

"Fifth sets tend to turn out that way," said Moore. "It's such a short game, you can't recover from (the runs). We've won matches where we went on runs in the fifth set and we've lost when the other team has gone on a run.

"It's almost like flipping a coin."

Wayne Christian pulled within 14-8 on Jessica Swets' kill, but Collier capped the match with an off-speed hit off Brathwaite's block attempt.