10/24/12 — WCDS eliminates Pungo from 1-A playoffs

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WCDS eliminates Pungo from 1-A playoffs

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on October 24, 2012 1:48 PM

The voice in the huddle may have been different for Wayne Country Day on Tuesday afternoon, but the message was the same.

With former Chargers' standout Bridgette Briggs filling in for head coach Juliet Jones who recently gave birth, Briggs preached communication and teamwork throughout timeouts.

Wayne Country Day responded to Briggs' advice and overcame a slow start in a 25-21, 22-25, 25-18, 25-15 win over Pungo Christian in the first round of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A volleyball playoffs.

The eighth-seeded Chargers (11-9 overall) face Shannon Forest (S.C.) on Friday at Statesville Christian.

Wayne Country Day struggled with its serve receive early in set one as Pungo jumped out to a 4-0 lead and Briggs quickly called timeout. The Chargers shook off some nerves and found some rhythm offensively.

Sarah Crooks served back-to-back aces and Hannah Pearson's kill put Wayne Country Day in front 11-10. The Chargers went ahead 19-14 on Rachel Uzzell's off-speed hit and Pearson's block closed out the set.

"During the timeout I just told them to calm down and take a few deep breaths," Briggs said. "I think it all clicked. I talked to them about Juliet being out and how she would want them to play harder than they were playing and after I said that I think it all just kind of clicked."

Pungo seized the momentum midway through set two and used a critical 6-0 run to take a 20-13 lead. The Chargers closed to within 23-19 on Pearson's kill before Hannah Mutscheler's off-speed hit and a Wayne Country Day miscue finished the second set.

The Raiders reeled off six unanswered points to begin set three before the Chargers answered with a 6-0 run of their own. Sarah Crooks delivered a pair of aces and Pearson's ace gave Wayne Country Day a 13-11 advantage. Kills from Brooke Neal, Jessica Zhou and Crooks helped put away the third set.

Pearson continued to cause problems for Pungo around the net as her kill and block helped the Chargers grab a 7-3 lead in set four. The Raiders cut the deficit to 14-12 before Pearson hammered out three more kills and Pungo committed costly errors down the stretch. Pearson finished with 12 kills.

"I think Rachel was making really smart decisions setting tonight and she kept feeding it to Hannah," Briggs said. "Hannah played really well and Brooke Neal had a really good game."