Lady Crusaders go the distance

Published 7:54 pm Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First Baptist’s girls volleyball squad regrouped just in time Tuesday evening to get its first victory of the season, winning its home opener over Bethel Christian Academy 25-23, 25-17, 20-25, 23-25, 15-10.

The Lady Crusaders opened their season last week going 0-3 against Atlantic Shores, Greenbrier Christian and Tidewater Academy.

First Baptist played Greenbrier and Tidewater Saturday at Greenbrier Christian. The Lady Crusaders played well against the larger schools said First Baptist head coach Joe Cockrell, but were lacking something more intangible.

Email newsletter signup

Dropping sets three and four and having to rally in the tiebreaking set to win wasn’t a perfect match for the Lady Crusaders, but it was outstanding for one reason.

“I was pleased because the biggest thing we were struggling with was when we lost a few points or fell behind, our whole demeanor changed and it dragged us down,” Cockrell said. “Today, we stayed up the whole way. When we were challenged, that made all the difference.”

First Baptist was tested, but everything went according to plan, through the first two sets against Bethel, from Canton, N.C.

The Lady Crusaders got good service runs from Morgan Overton, Victoria Carr and Christine Joslin. Overton and Abby Cockrell combined as setters and hitters. Cockrell finished the match with 12 kills and 12 assists; Overton with nine kills and seven assists.

Bethel won four straight points to make it 23-23 before Overton put a shot over the net that fell in amongst miscommunication by Bethel. Overton put in an ace for the clinching point.

“Every girl in the rotation served well tonight, which is great,” Cockrell said. The Lady Crusaders totaled 29 aces, led by Tiffany Stancil serving up seven.

First Baptist got out to a 13-7 lead in set two and had little trouble from there. Abby Cockrell had five kills and four assists in the set.

Midway through set three, Bethel turned the match around with an 11-2 run. Seemingly out of nowhere, Bethel’s defense was on the ball. After putting down 22 kills in the first two sets, First Baptist scored only one in the third set.

Bethel led most of the way in set four. Aces by Carr and Stancil were key in a Lady Crusader rally from down 17-11 to a 20-20 score, but Bethel answered with three straight points and held on to force the fifth set.

The decisive rally came early in the final set. Megan Farmer scored a kill and back-to-back aces in a 4-0 Lady Crusader charge to an 8-5 lead and First Baptist pulled away from there.

Senior back-row player Peyton Brown wasn’t a statistical leader in any category, but Cockrell credited her for leading in another way.

“She’s our team spirit leader. She pumped everyone else up, which is exactly what we needed,” Cockrell said.

First Baptist hosts Summit Friday at 6:30 p.m.