River spikes home ‘Suffolk Sweep’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

For her 16th birthday Tuesday, Sarah McDonald’s teammates on the Nansemond River girls volleyball team gifted her with a cake, balloons, and several other offerings. Then they went out and helped her take home the greatest present of all.

Not just a victory. Not just the team’s second consecutive win. Their second triumph of the season over host crosstown rival Lakeland.


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&uot;It would have been better if I’d been able to contribute more,&uot; said McDonald, who finished the evening with &uot;only&uot; 31 sets and assisted on &uot;just&uot; 25 kills. &uot;I felt really off today, but we couldn’t lose to Lakeland on my birthday.&uot; Whitney Eley had nine kills and April Hines six in the 25-19, 19-25, 25-15, 25-11 victory (the Lady Warriors defeated Deep Creek on Monday, also in four games).

The first game was nip and tuck until McDonald herself went to the line with the scored knotted at 12. She knocked over five consecutive points (including her first ace of the game) to up the lead to 17-12. Lakeland called timeout, and Rachel Bailor served two points. Two points from Mary Rimasse got the Lady Cavaliers to within 20-17, but Eley bashed home her fourth kill, and she and Brittany Szalanski served for the remaining points.

Bailor tipped over a point to open the second game, and she and Laja Buckigham helped the Lady Cavaliers to an 8-2 lead. The &uot;Warriorettes&uot; gave chase several times, getting as close as two before Rimasse served Lakeland to 19-13, and Sarah Wheeler and Ashley Brinkley finished off River.

Ashley Cox made sure it didn’t happen again, hammering over seven consecutive points to start game three. She and Eley accounted for three kills and Hines had a kill and an ace in the remainder. The final game was even more lopsided, as Lakeland never scored more than two consecutive points in the loss.

&uot;We were trying a different serve-receive in the first two games, one that we learned on the way here,&uot; Eley said. &uot;Instead of having three people in the back and three in the front, we sometimes had five in the back and one in the front. Then we went back to our regular way of playing. We’re on a good playing streak now.&uot;

The River boys completed the Suffolk sweep, surviving a 24-26, 25-11, 25-20, 25-22 win over Lakeland, which won its first game Monday against Indian River. Dusty Alexander served the Warriors to a 9-3 lead in the first game, only to see Victor Taglis smash over seven consecutive points to give the Cavaliers a 14-13 lead. The teams went back and forth until Brian Briesemiester served for River to tie the score at 24.

The Cavaliers called timeout, and Corey Davis hammered a kill to give the Cavaliers the lead and the ball. Jake Conrad followed him up with an ace, giving Lakeland the game.

Whatever momentum the Cavaliers carried over from the win, however, seemed to disappear in the second game. Taglis smashed an ace to tie the score at three, but it was all River from then on. Justin Sorenson, Quinton Boykins and Dusty Alexander all had two kills apiece, and Jason Taylor had a pair of aces.

River got a few controversial calls from the officials in the final two games. It all started with Lakeland holding a 14-11 lead.

Two consecutive kills by the Warriors appeared to land several feet out of bounds, but the officials ruled them in. Lakeland was called for three consecutive penalties (carrying, going under the net, etc.), but still managed to get to 20-19. As a Warrior lob neared the net, Lakeland’s Avery Daugherty leaped to block it. The ball landed well short of the net, but the official, apparently watching Daughtrey instead of the ball, called him for touching the net. With River up 23-20, a Warrior leaped up, caught a set lob, and tossed it to Sorenson, who smashed it home without the officials calling the carry. One kill by Sorenson later, the Warriors had a one-game lead.

Like the first game, the fourth was touch-and-go. A kill by Boykins got River an 18-17 lead, and another controversial call gave the Warriors the advantage. An attempted kill hit the net, which was pushed into Davis. Still, the referees called the Lakeland player for touching the net.

Kills by Davis and Jeff Edwards gave Lakeland a 21-20 lead, but Sorenson spiked two of his own to get River a 24-21 lead. Lakeland called timeout, and a Warrior kill hit the net. The Cavaliers had one chance left, as Davis went to serve. However, just as he hit the ball, the official’s whistle blew, ruling that several Cavaliers had crossed the line before the play got going, ending the game and the match.

Lakeland did have one victory to celebrate, as Nicole Jones earned the nickname of &uot;Ace&uot; by serving for the junior varsity team’s last four points (and ending the match with eight aces) in the junior varsity team’s 25-20, 25-16 victory.