11/04/09 — St. Andrews wins battle of youth

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St. Andrews wins battle of youth

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 4, 2009 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Short-handed Mount Olive College carved out a valley and nearly climbed back up the mountain Tuesday evening.

Missing four starters due to violation of team rules, the Trojans put two freshmen and two sophomores on the floor in a pivotal Conference Carolinas volleyball match against in-state rival St. Andrews.

Their debut ended in bittersweet fashion.

St. Andrews claimed an early four-point advantage in the decisive fifth set and pulled out a 25-13, 25-19, 21-25, 12-25, 15-6 victory at Kornegay Arena. The loss dropped Mount Olive (12-17 overall) into a third-place tie with Limestone and Pfeiffer at 11-5 in conference play.

"We have been preparing since August for anyone to step and grab the opportunity (to play)," said MOC head coach Cole Tallman. "Everybody works hard in practice and everybody works on the same things in practice. They're all pivotal (matches) whether it's the first one of the season.

"I believe everyone is going to be great and that all the great players are going to be even better than they normally are. We battled."

Sophomore setter Destiny Ma'ave-Kuewa handed out 33 assists for the Trojans, who fell to 4-2 in five-set matches this season. Freshmen hitters Bridgette Briggs and Kristin Smith, both from Goldsboro, combined for five kills and two block assists.

Freshman libero Brooke Norris logged three digs.

Senior outside hitter Alicia Mote and junior Christiane Maul pounded out 18 and 13 kills, respectively. Whitney Quinn and Alexandra Simon recorded nine and eight digs, respectively.

St. Andrews (11-19, 6-11 CC) continues to adjust without senior middle hitter Galina Podolsky. The all-conference performer from Raleigh sustained a season-ending injury.

Heather Bolwerk and Jessica Himalstein, two underclassmen, combined for 23 kills as the Knights earned a regular-season split against the Trojans.

"Tonight was a battle of the future of our programs because we both have young kids on both sides," said St. Andrews head coach Melissa Chaplin. "You give them the skills and they have the talent, it's just a matter of the mental game ... being able to come through consistently."

The Knights dominated the opening set and used a 16-8 run to put the Trojans away. The teams were tied 13-13 in the second set before St. Andrews scored six straight points to take control. Bolwerk served an ace to close out the set and gave the visitors a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-five contest.

Mount Olive seized control late in the third set. Back-to-back kills from Briggs and Mote fueled an 11-2 surge. St. Andrews fended off several set points before a hitting error forced the fourth set.

Maul's solo block and three consecutive aces from Mote pushed the Trojans ahead 7-1 in the fourth set. The Knights never recovered as Maul, Mote and Simon controlled the net.

Smith added two aces as MOC evened the match at 2-2.

"I think they (our rookies) thought they had the third game in the bag, but Mount Olive is a good team. When you give them confidence, they're going to come rocking at you," said Chaplin. "We realized this is a big deal for us because we have to win this game and the next game to have a chance to get into tournament play for our conference. The rookies stepped up."

St. Andrews used a 6-0 run to close out the fifth set and take the match. It was the Knights' eighth victory in 20 meetings against the Trojans since 2001.