Warriors ford River on the courts

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Whitney Eley had seven kills and April Hines added three (one in the closing moments) and Ashley Cox knocked over three aces as Nansemond River (NR) completed a roller coaster, five-game victory over host Indian River (IR) to keep its Southeastern District playoff hopes alive with a 12-25, 25-14, 25-12, 24-26, 15-12 victory on Tuesday night. The win avenged the five-game loss the Lady Braves handed the host Lady Warriors on Sept. 11, and gave the NR ladies their second win in as many days (they swept Lake-land on Monday).

The Lady Braves took control of the coaster first, riding to an easy victory in the first game. IR jumped out to a 21-10 lead and never looked back as the Lady Warriors looked as disjointed as they had all season. &uot;We looked back at that game,&uot; said Hines, &uot;and we still knew that we could win it. We had to believe in ourselves.&uot;


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The Lady Braves’ coaster hit a corkscrew in the second game. Eley smashed a pair of kills to tie the score at six, and she hit two aces and Cox had a kill to up the lead to 9-6. The teams rallied to 11-10, but Brittany Szalanski, in her most energetic performance of the season, hurtled five consecutive points past the IR defense for a 17-10 lead. A kill by Eley upped the lead to 19-11, and Cox served for two more points. Eley tipped over a point, then hammered a pair of aces to get to 23-13. Amanda Cox bashed home a kill, and an IR serve went into the net, ending the game.

Now in the driver’s seat, the Lady Warriors turned on the juice. Eley and Hines served them to an 11-4 lead in game three, and Ashley knocked over three points for an 18-9 advantage. Sara Brooks knocked over a point, and a kill (rather than a dig) by Kayla Diggs and two aces from Eley gave the Lady Warriors a 2-1 lead.

NR led for the majority of the fourth game, but were never able to extend their lead to more than three points. The Lady Braves tied the score at 19, and NR called timeout. But Kristina Angus served for three quick points, aided by two kills from Kelli Darden to give the Lady Braves a 22-19 lead. NR tied the score, but a kill attempt went out of bounds, and IR had the fourth game and the momentum, leaving one last tug-or-war to see who would get to decide where the coaster would stop.

Ashley called her team together before the final game. &uot;I told them that this was our game, and that we deserved it,&uot; she said. &uot;We’ve come a long way, and we’ve worked really hard. This team deserved this match as much as anyone.&uot;

Again, the teams went sneaker-to-sneaker. IR jumped out to a 3-1 lead, but two kills by Hines and one by Eley gave NR a 5-4 lead. Szalanski served the Lady Warriors to a 9-6 lead, and Sarah McDonald scored another point. IR roared back to tie the score at 11, and NR called timeout. A spike from Eley gave the Lady Warriors back the lead, but the Lady Braves tied it again. Their first serve hit the net, however, and, two points from victory, Shannon Andy went to serve.

&uot;I was panicked!&uot; she said. &uot;I had a real adrenaline rush.&uot;

The rush allowed her to knock the ball in the back of the IR court, but the Lady Brave defense returned it quickly. McDonald charged to the center of the court, and lobbed a setup to Hines on the right side. Hines leapt up and smashed the ball just over the net, bringing the Lady Warriors to within one. Andy served again, and a Lady Braves kill attempt went out of bounds, allowing the Lady Warriors to leave the court (and the coaster) as victors.

The Warrior men had a slightly easier time of things, demolishing the Braves 25-17, 25-16, 25-18, their second sweep in as many days. The teams will host Hickory on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Great Bridge defeated host Lakeland in both male and female volleyball competition on Tuesday. The Cavaliers will visit Oscar Smith on Thursday.