09/16/10 — Saints oust Ladybirds in four sets

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Saints oust Ladybirds in four sets

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 16, 2010 1:47 PM

DUDLEY -- Southern Wayne's overall won-loss record isn't appealing to the average observer, but girls' volleyball coach Eric Durol has seen improvement since practice began in early August.

He defended his argument Wednesday afternoon.

The Saints rallied from middle- and late-set deficits, and turned back Southern Nash 25-18, 22-25, 25-22, 25-23. Durol's team swept the regular-season series against the Ladybirds and improved to 2-7 overall.

"Right now, we're taking small steps to becoming a better team," said Durol. "Yesterday, even though we took a loss (at South Johnston), we didn't give up like we did early in the season. We fought back.

"Today, we fell behind (and) the girls hung together ... supported each other."

Junior outside hitter Madison Davis just missed a double-double with 11 digs and nine kills. Setter Amber Lanier distributed 17 assists and collected seven digs defensively.

Qualanda Mathis pounded out six kills and recorded nine digs, while lanky middle hitter Courtney Holland supplied eight kills. The Saints had 29 kills and 41 digs as a team in the four-set battle.

"Today was a game where the flow would change from side to the other," said Durol. "We stood tall and learned how to get the momentum."

Southern Wayne seized command in the opening set at 18-15 on Holland's kill on a Southern Nash overpass. Mathis' kill and Holland's net ace extended the advantage to 20-16.

Serving miscues haunted the Ladybirds (1-8) as the set wound down, and Davis finished off the visitors with an off-speed dump that dropped just inside the 3-meter line.

Southern Nash controlled the tempo in the second set and capitalized on 13 unforced errors. Ladybird libero Alea Singletary served a set-ending ace to tie the match at 1-set apiece.

Davis' ace started a 7-2 run in the third set, which helped the Saints grab a 16-12 advantage. Southern Nash climbed within 17-16 on three consecutive aces by Miya Bryant.

The teams were tied at 19-19, 20-20 and 21-21 before consecutive aces from Carlie Heath put the Saints ahead for good. Holland's kill on another overpass and a Ladybird passing error closed out the second set.

Southern Nash led 21-17 in the fourth set before Southern Wayne started its match-ending comeback. Mathis' kill off Emily Carr's assist fueled an 8-2 run that included kills from Davis and two aces from Taylor Hood.

Holland finished off the rally with another kill on yet another overpass from the Ladybirds.

"Courtney was right there and took the free swing," said Durol. "That's a drill we've had problems with (executing). On the overpass, we'd swing into the net or the girls would hit the net on their way up (to swing).

"Both teams are struggling to find themselves, but today, I think was a really good day for both teams. The season will go as it goes, but (after) today I think we will start taking bigger steps forward."