Lady Cavs snap two streaks

Published 10:27 pm Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lakeland’s girls volleyball team celebrates the clinching point in its sweep over Nansemond River Wednesday night. The Lady Cavaliers won their first match in more than a season and stopped Nansemond River’s six-match winning streak in the city rivalry.

Lakeland’s girls volleyball team has a long way to go before competing for a district title or any other trophy, but a spectator hardly would’ve known any different from the Lady Cavalier jubilation following the final point of their three-set win at city rival Nansemond River Wednesday night.

The victory, by the score of 25-19, 25-20, 25-23, was the first for the Lady Cavaliers since October 2009. It was the first for Lakeland in its rivalry against the Lady Warriors since 2007.

After a winless season last fall, the win, over a rival to boot, is a fine reward for increased effort and excitement, said Lakeland head coach Brandey Blunt.

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“It’s so refreshing. It’s great to see everything pay off in a win because the last few games, I’d seen improvement,” Blunt said. “More importantly, they’re having fun. They’re diving for everything, not letting anything hit the floor.”

Lakeland led 15-14 before seven straight points on Sarah Bowyer’s service turned the first set in Lakeland’s favor. Bowyer, Stephanie Cornell and Simone Russell had two kills each in the first set.

The Lady Cavaliers won points with persistent defense and keeping the ball in play. The Lady Warriors countered with more height at the net and athletic hitting. While impressive on some points, Nansemond River’s errors and fouls canceled out the plays that went right for the Lady Warriors.

After taking the lead in the match, the Lady Cavaliers won the second set’s first nine points and held at least a four point lead throughout the set.

Nansemond River’s play at the net switched the match around through part of the third set.

The Lady Warriors led 16-8 before Lakeland cut the lead down to 18-15. NR got a kill from Tatyana Thomas, an ace by C.J. Wood, a kill by Sonnae Gibson and another Thomas kill to go ahead 22-15.

Cornell won a blocking battle above the net to end NR’s rally. Back-to-back aces by Bowyer made it 22-19 NR.

The Lady Warriors got within two points, at 23-20, of keeping the match going to a fourth set. A missed serve, a foul on NR and a missed spike made it 23-23.

Sarah Outland put a spike off a Lady Warrior dig try and out for a kill and 24-23 Lakeland. Victoria Treat served an ace for the final point. Lakeland won 10 of the last 11 points to finish the match.

“When you work as hard as you possibly can, it’ll pay off because you’ll play like you practice,” Blunt said.

“Hopefully now that the girls have got the taste of winning, they won’t look back,” she said.

Bowyer led Lakeland (1-3) with six assists, four kills and three aces. Russell added four kills and three blocks.

Morgan Lowers had 17 assists for the Lady Warriors (0-3). Courtney Lowers and Kara Lyles had eight kills each.

Lakeland hosts Great Bridge on Thursday, Sept. 8. Nansemond River has its only two non-district contests next up, at Churchland Thursday evening and hosting Southampton Wednesday.