Lakeland, KF go the distance again

Published 10:27 pm Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lakeland completed a season sweep in girls volleyball over city rival King’s Fork on Thursday night at Lakeland, but it wasn’t easy, either time.

In Lakeland’s first match of the season, the Lady Cavaliers beat King’s Fork in five sets and it was another marathon match on Thursday. King’s Fork and Lakeland traded the lead in the tie-breaking set, but Lakeland had the last run thanks largely to seven kills in the fifth set by Porshe Garner and the Lady Cavaliers prevailed 25-22, 20-25, 25-21, 19-25, 15-13.

The match had wild shifts in momentum all the way through. In the first set, King’s Fork got out to a 20-8 lead only for Lakeland to come back and win the set with a 17-2 run from that point.

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Crystal Trent and Jackie Wood served long runs for the Lady Cavs. Garner won back-to-back jousts at the center of the net to make it 21-19 KF and a kill by Dashea Collins made it 21-21.

A kill by Jamika Townsend gave KF the lead again, but Lakeland scored the final four points of the set, with kills by Collins and Garner in the 4-0 rally, to take the set.

KF’s Megan Blythe served the Lady Bulldogs on a 13-0 run to take KF out to a 15-2 lead in set two. Blythe had four aces in the rally and Alaysha Mikell added two kills and a block.

Once again though, Lakeland put together a huge comeback and got within 20-19. KF got a side out to stop Lakeland from tying the score and Blythe’s turn at serving came at the right time. Blythe won only two points this time, but they were critical points. A kill by Whitney Nichols made it 24-20 KF and a long rally on the next point ended with a Lakeland error to make it one set apiece.

The last three sets were still back-and-forth, but without the huge swings in the score. Lakeland took the lead midway through the third set and held a small lead the rest of the way.

Back-to-back kills by Mikell brought KF within a point at 20-19. Lakeland’s main force at the net, Garner, got a block for a point to give Lakeland a 23-21 lead and two KF errors finished the set.

Midway through the fourth set, Lakeland seemed to be going on to finish the match. Lakeland led 15-12 before a 9-0 run on Blythe’s serve.

Townsend, who finished with a game-high 14 assists, set up three of the nine points. Mikell again was key in KF’s surge with two kills and a block.

King’s Fork held a slim lead for most of the early part of set five until Lakeland tied it at 9-9 and a kill by Garner, her fourth of the set, put Lakeland up 10-9.

Erika Wood and Garner were suddenly a great combination in the final few points for the Lady Cavaliers. Wood had four of her nine assists in the fifth set and Wood-to-Garner for a kill won Lakeland’s points for 11-9, 13-11 and on match point, with Garner putting down a spike from the back row.

Garner finished with 15 kills and three blocks. Erika Wood also led Lakeland in aces with four. Lakeland (2-7, 2-7) plays at Oscar Smith on Monday evening.

For King’s Fork, Townsend had 14 assists and six kills. Mikell had 12 kills and four blocks. Blythe finished with six aces. KF (0-10, 0-9) hosts Great Bridge on Monday evening.

In the boys match earlier on Thursday evening at Lakeland, Lakeland cruised to a three-set win over King’s Fork, 25-15, 25-9, 25-14. Lakeland completes a season sweep against the Bulldogs.

Taylor Bess led Lakeland with eight kills. Scott Asbell had seven kills and Chaise Hodge had six. Mike Estienne had 15 assists. Dominique Lee had eight assists for KF (1-10, 0-10) and Devante Gardner had four kills.

After dropping three straight matches, Lakeland (6-4, 6-4) has won three straight matches to move back into the discussion for a Southeastern District playoff spot. The top four teams reach the district tournament.

“We’ve gotten a lot less sloppy and we got some intensity back. We had lost that for awhile, but it’s been back the last two games,” said Asbell.

Lakeland also had to get through some injuries to three starters, Asbell, Bess and Bobby Estienne. Lakeland can’t afford too many more losses, but the losses early in the season could prove valuable said Asbell.

“Sometimes it takes getting beat a little bit to learn what you need to do better. Stuff makes more sense after you get beat,” said Asbell.