Bulldog rally can’t top Hawks

Published 9:51 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2011

King’s Fork’s A.J. Jenkins had six kills and two blocks as the Bulldogs lost in four sets to Hickory Tuesday night. Hickory won 25-12, 25-16, 19-25, 25-20.

King’s Fork’s boys volleyball squad has won sets in each of its last three matches, including in a four-set loss, 25-12, 25-16, 19-25, 25-20, to visiting Hickory Tuesday night.

It’s a sign of progress for the Bulldogs, says first-year head coach Matt Fike, especially against an opponent the likes of Hickory, often a contender for one of the two regional spots out of the Southeastern District.

“Hickory’s a very good team and we told them, you’ve got to step up to the competition,” Fike said.

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“We did that when we battled back to win game three, and when we battled back in game four,” he said.

Next in line for the Bulldogs, though, is changing good efforts and positive stretches in matches into more than moral victories.

Hickory cruised through the opening set thanks largely to its power and pace serving the ball. The Hawks moved out to an 8-1 lead.

King’s Fork adjusted for a few points and closed within 15-10 before another 8-1 Hawk run decided the set.

KF’s main hitter, A.J. Jenkins, scored with a kill followed by an ace to help the Bulldogs out to a 6-3 lead in the second set.

Hickory answered with a 6-0 rally and held the lead the rest of the game. The Bulldogs were doing better putting the Hawk serves back in play, but Hickory steadily pulled away for a 2-0 lead in the match.

“We keep emphasizing to the guys the need to be aggressive. We have to put pressure on the other team. When we do that, we can force them to make some mistakes,” Fike said.

With a little attacking at the net combined with working hard to keep the ball in play, the Bulldogs did just that in the set they won.

Jenkins put shots down at the center of the net on three of four Bulldog points early in the set. Mark Kluck served a long Bulldog rally, with Jenkins’ kills included, for an 8-1 Bulldog lead.

Hickory cut a 16-6 KF lead down to 17-13 before the Bulldogs regained the momentum and finished the set with little problem.

Hickory’s serving again was too tough for the Bulldogs and a rash of Bulldog errors combined for a 21-9 Hickory lead in the fourth set. The Bulldogs got back to digging lots of Hawk shots and making the Hawks work. It made for a closer finish but that was all for the Bulldogs.

“We’ll take the good things and we’re going to build on them,” Fike said.

King’s Fork (0-4) gets another chance to break through on Thursday, hosting Deep Creek at 5 p.m.