First Baptist finishes second in tourney

Published 11:01 pm Friday, October 22, 2010

First Baptist’s Tiffany Stancil hits a spike during the championship match of the 7 Cities Athletic Conference Tournament in Virginia Beach Thursday night. Gateway Christian beat First Baptist 25-23, 25-22, 13-25, 26-24.

VIRGINIA BEACH — Facing undefeated and No. 1-seed Gateway Christian in the final of the 7 Cities Athletic Conference Tournament Thursday night, First Baptist’s volleyball team needed its best match of the season.

The Lady Crusaders played some of their best volleyball, but only for part of the championship match, as Gateway won the conference title, 25-23, 25-22, 13-25, 26-24.

“We played hard, hustled and stuck with our game plan. I’m very proud of the team,” said First Baptist head coach Joe Cockrell.

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“We did not play a bad match at all, we just had to play at a notch higher to win it,” Cockrell said.

The match was a contrast in styles. Gateway played an excellent defensive style. With little hitting or blocking, but all six players ready to make digs and keep points alive, Gateway made the Lady Crusaders earn every point.

For the third set and for short stretches throughout the other three games, the Lady Crusader attack showed its ability led by conference Player of the Year and Tournament MVP Jessica May.

Gateway opened the match taking an 11-4 lead. First Baptist chipped its way closer throughout the set and with four straight points on Abby Cockrell’s serve, including two kills by Megan Farmer, the Lady Crusaders took a 20-19 lead.

From a 23-22 Lady Crusader lead, Gateway took the last three points of the set. In sets two and four as well, Gateway had the final, decisive rally to claim the games.

“We had a tendency all year to get really tight when things tightened up,” Joe Cockrell said. “For the first two games, we played tight and nervous and barely lost. If we were really on it from the start, maybe the result would’ve been different.”

In the second set, back to back kills, with Morgan Overton setting up two May spikes, put First Baptist up 14-12.

Gateway rolled off five straight points. First Baptist answered to tie the score, 18-18, before Gateway moved in front for good.

Led by nine straight points, including four aces, by libero Christine Joslin, First Baptist bolted to an 11-1 lead in the third set. The Lady Crusaders kept their attacking rhythm going and the big lead the rest of the way.

May had four kills and Overton added three kills in the set. Abby Cockrell had five assists.

The Lady Crusaders led most of the way in set four. May’s hitting was the one definite advantage First Baptist had. With a finesse, dink kill, then a big spike by May on the next point, First Baptist moved in front 21-20. May finished with 15 kills and four aces.

The Lady Crusaders kept going to a 24-21 lead, but all three set points went by the boards and Gateway rallied for five straight points to win the title.

Abby Cockrell was named first-team all-conference and Tiffany Stancil was named second-team all-conference. Cockrell had 19 assists and three blocks in the final. Stancil had six kills. Farmer had seven kills and five aces. Overton added nine assists and six kills.

The season is officially over for the Lady Crusaders (11-8) but they have one important match to go.

First Baptist visits Isle of Wight Academy Tuesday for fundraising matches for Relay for Life. The junior varsity teams will start at 5 p.m. with a varsity match following.