08/16/12 — Perennial 1-A power Lakewood stops Southern Wayne in three sets

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Perennial 1-A power Lakewood stops Southern Wayne in three sets

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 16, 2012 1:48 PM

DUDLEY -- The flashes of good play comes and goes when Southern Wayne communicates on the volleyball court.

Now it's a matter of working consistently as a group.

When the scrappy Saints talked and moved as a unit, they gave perennial Class 1-A powerhouse Lakewood fits Wednesday afternoon. But when their defense broke down in transition, the Leopards capitalized on the mistakes.

Senior setter Allyson Heinz distributed a match-high 27 assists among six hitters in a 25-23, 25-9, 25-21 triumph over Southern Wayne. Senior hitter Tiesha Rich knocked down 10 kills for Lakewood, which departed 2-0 overall after its second consecutive win over a Wayne County team in a three-day period.

The Leopards swept Rosewood on Monday.

"A very scrappy team ... sometimes it seemed like there were 12 of them out there on the court," Lakewood head coach Sheila Davidson said of the Saints.

Southern Wayne (0-2 overall) showed its feisty mentality in the opening set. The Saints erased a two-point deficit and went on an 11-5 run, ignited by Deborah Bennett's three consecutive service aces.

Kills from Bennett and Elizabeth Best, and two hitting errors stretched the margin to 17-11 before Davidson burned her first timeout. The Leopards regained their composure and tied the set at 20-all when Bennett's cross-court cut shot sailed just wide of the line.

The teams traded sideouts before senior outside hitter Morgan Herring delivered a set-clinching monster kill that dropped just inside the baseline.

"Communication ... our biggest issue right now," first-year Southern Wayne head coach Courtney Bell said. "When one person doesn't talk, balls hit the floor and it all goes haywire."

The second set proved Bell's theory.

Southern Wayne struggled to cover spots defensively and Lakewood benefited from numerous transition balls. The Leopards connected on 10 kills and committed just two hitting miscues during a dominating 18-4 run.

The efficiency pleased Davidson.

"That's what you want to do," she said.

Bennett (10 kills) and Keaton Bradley (five kills, two blocks) sparked the Saints' offense to start the third set. Bennett served four straight aces and Bradley smoked a kill off Bennett's assist during a seven-point surge that put Southern Wayne ahead 10-3.

Lakewood squelched the momentum on Bailey Dudley's kill. Dudley reeled off three aces and Southern Wayne committed a trio of three-and-out series that led to a 10-10 deadlock.

The Leopards pulled away and led by as many as seven points before Bennett returned to the front row. She delivered two kills off Kayla Overton assists. Bradley's dump pass off Overton's assist closed the gap to 22-21.

Overton finished with 15 assists.

"Their offense, when number 11 (Bennett) is on the front, you don't get many free balls because she can put it away," Davidson said.

Lakewood closed out the set and match with three straight kills.

"We had good moments of hitting when they decided to listen and put the ball where I was telling them it was open (on the court)," Bell said. "We had moments where we did communicate and it worked out well for us. Our passing was better today."