10/12/11 — Fifth-ranked Patriots upend Chargers

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Fifth-ranked Patriots upend Chargers

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 12, 2011 1:48 PM

Wayne Country Day varsity volleyball coach Juliet Jones delivered the same message: "talk, pass, intensity, fight" during each timeout Tuesday afternoon.

Yet nothing seemed to click for the Chargers.

Faith Christian of Rocky Mount capitalized on its opponent's youthful mistakes and claimed a 25-23, 25-12, 25-15 victory in Coastal Plains Independent 1-A Conference play. The Patriots (12-4 overall, 8-2 CPIC) swept the regular-season series.

Outside hitter Sarah Crooks supplied six kills for Wayne Country Day, which dipped to 6-13 overall and 2-6 against CPIC opposition this season. Jessica Zhou and Rachel Uzzell combined for seven assists.

"At the beginning of the game, I told them there were two things they needed to do in order to win the game ... they need to pass and they needed to talk," said Jones. "We have a hard time serve receiving. In the first set, they did exactly what they were supposed to do.

"When you're talking, you're subconsciously in the game. When you stop talking, you become a fan and start watching the game."

The Patriots, ranked No. 5 in the latest N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A poll, grabbed a four-point advantage midway through the opening set. The Chargers battled to a 15-15 tie and grabbed a 17-15 advantage on consecutive aces from Crooks.

Faith Christian regained the lead on a service ace that clipped the net, and earned set point, 24-20, on a WCDS hitting error. But the Chargers rallied to within 24-23 on two kills from Crooks. The Patriots' Sarah Bradsher closed out the set with an off-speed shot which capped a long rally.

"The first set they did exactly what I asked them to do," said Jones.

However, the Chargers played flat the next two sets.

Faith Christian used a 9-0 run to take command in the second set. The Patriots built as much as a 14-point advantage in the decisive third set and clinched the outcome on Bridget Varnell's kill down the line.

WCDS mustered 11 kills as a team, but committed 33 errors -- 11 in the flow of play, 15 on attacks and seven at the service line. Faith Christian cranked out 25 kills and hit .326 on the afternoon.

"We lack experience," said Jones, who lost four seniors off last year's team. "But what's promising is I'm seeing bits and pieces of what they're capable of doing. Once they get the whole package together, I think we'll be good to go."