Bulldogs prep with live action

Published 10:04 pm Tuesday, August 16, 2011

King’s Fork’s Jamika Townsend serves during a volleyball scrimmage against visiting Prince George Tuesday evening at King’s Fork. The Lady Bulldogs went 9-10 last season. Both King’s Fork teams host Oscar Smith to open the regular season on Tuesday with the boys’ match starting at 5 p.m.

With one week to go before the Southeastern District volleyball season goes into full swing, both King’s Fork squads won scrimmages over Prince George on Tuesday evening.

For the Lady Bulldogs, who won the first three sets before the teams continued playing for practice, it was the first chance to build on one of the program’s best seasons in its relatively young history.

Last fall, the Lady Bulldogs were 8-5 and had a shot at the district tournament until falling in four straight matches and finishing with a 9-10 record.

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King’s Fork’s boys team was in action for the first time under new head coach Matt Fike.

The Bulldogs won the first two games over the Royals, including a 31-29 marathon second game. The Royals responded to take games three and four. King’s Fork rallied back, trailing midway through game five before winning it 15-9.

It was a warm-up match, but Fike believes for his Bulldogs, who won one match last season, it was already a valuable learning experience.

“This was a great lesson here. I don’t care if it was just a scrimmage, today showed when we play competitively, when we execute and play well fundamentally, we can compete,” Fike said.

The Bulldogs didn’t have their full squad for the scrimmage. Two of seven seniors were missing, but they’ll be there when King’s Fork hosts Oscar Smith on Tuesday for the district and season opener.

“These kids have a lot of heart,” Fike said. “They’ve done everything I’ve asked them to do at practice. This is a great team academically and I know they’re excited, loyal and hard-working.”

A.J. Jenkins led the Bulldogs with 10 kills. Richie Parks had eight kills and six assists. Josh Jahnsen had seven aces and seven assists.

Prince George gave the Lady Bulldogs a good test in stretches and could’ve just as easily taken the opening game.

KF led 10-4 and 18-12 before Prince George fought back to tie the first game at 19, 20 and 22. The Lady Bulldogs held their opponent off, though.

Jamika Townsend, a returning all-district player who’s strong in every aspect of the game, put down a spike for a 20-19 KF lead. Townsend set Crystal Collins for a kill for a 23-22 KF lead and the Lady Bulldogs hung on for a 25-23 win.

Games two and three were easier, even as head coach Sarah Whitfield made sure all her players got playing time in the practice match. Collins served 16 straight service points, scoring eight aces along the way, in the third game.

Both King’s Fork teams will get one more scrimmage in, on Thursday at Landstown, before the season starts on Tuesday.

For the first half of the Southeastern District campaign, boys varsity matches lead off tripleheaders at 5 p.m. The girls junior varsity match follows with the girls varsity match as the finale.