Last rally saves Lady Warriors
Published 10:23 pm Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Nansemond River fended off two King’s Fork match points and went on to win the fifth set 17-15 for its third straight girls volleyball victory Monday at King’s Fork’s Kennel.
The final Lady Warrior rally was the last step of larger comebacks, both in the match and in the tiebreaking set for a 22-25, 25-19, 21-25, 25-18, 17-15 win.
In the last set, the Lady Bulldogs pulled away for a 13-9 lead and got to within a point of victory at 14-12.
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Lady Warrior senior hitter Courtney Lowers, who tallied 22 kills on the night, came through with kills on both match points.
Sonnae Gibson’s block led to a KF error, setting up a Lady Warrior match point at 15-14 NR.
KF’s Brenna Ginn put down a kill to save the Lady Bulldogs for a point. The Lady Warriors kept their momentum going though.
A missed KF serve put NR up 16-15 and Morgan Lowers set up one last kill for her older sister Courtney to finish the NR win.
“When the tension is that high, I’m just trying to have them remember to play level-headed,” said Lady Warrior head coach Deidra Rader.
Rader was pleased with her side’s intensity and spirit down the stretch.
“We can control those parts of our game. It doesn’t have anything to do with how hard the other team’s hitting,” Rader said. “But we have to bring that intensity more consistently.”
The city rivals traded bursts of energy throughout. The final set was the tightest of the evening, but each set swung to the Warriors or Bulldogs depending on one run at the right time.
In the opening set, NR led 16-15 until the Lady Bulldogs took the lead with a 5-0 run on Megan Blythe’s serve.
The Lady Warriors closed back with within a point twice. KF won a sideout with Crystal Collins getting a kill, then following it with an ace.
KF benefitted from an errant Lady Warrior serve for a 24-22 lead. Jamika Townsend, who led KF with 21 kills, eight assists and five aces, spiked a kill landing inches inside the end line for the clinching point.
The Lady Warriors jumped out to a 12-4 lead in the second set. Morgan and Courtney Lowers combined for six kills in the set.
The Lady Warriors seemed to be taking control of the match for good, continuing into the third set with an 11-4 lead. NR libero C.J. Wood served a 10-0 run to build the Lady Warrior lead.
Townsend scored four kills in short order, then Taylor Beale, Natalie Montgomery and Jasmine Wertz joined in KF’s hitting as the Lady Bulldogs rallied all the way to a 14-13 lead. Townsend’s seven kills in the set kept KF going for a 2-1 lead in the match.
The fourth set went back and forth, with NR holding a 16-15 edge before Jasmine Arthur turned in a run of key plays at the net. Arthur got a kill and a pair of blocks in a 4-0 NR run. There were longer rallies in the contest, but the momentum from this one carried the Lady Warriors to take the set.
KF scored four straight points for a 13-9 lead, with two aces by Wertz included, for what nearly was the deciding rally in the last game before Nansemond River’s big answer.
Morgan Lowers finished with 29 assists. Arthur had five blocks and Tatyana Thomas had seven kills.
Courtney Brown had 13 assists for the Lady Bulldogs.
The Lady Warriors (3-7, 2-6) hosted Western Branch Tuesday. They play again at Grassfield on Thursday at 6 p.m.
The Lady Bulldogs (1-7) were at Great Bridge Tuesday and will go to Oscar Smith Thursday.