Champs edge First Baptist

Published 10:12 pm Monday, October 3, 2011

Gateway Christian, defending volleyball champs of the Seven Cities Athletic Conference, beat First Baptist on Friday in Virginia Beach, but not before a five-set, two-hour battle, 25-17, 22-25, 25-20, 21-25, 15-10.

“We have played the best team volleyball that I’ve seen in our program in the past three matches,” said First Baptist head coach Joe Cockrell.

The Virginia Beach Crusaders and the Suffolk Crusaders met in the conference tournament final last season, with Gateway prevailing. Gateway beat First Baptist in three sets in First Baptist’s gym three weeks ago.

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On Friday, Gateway opened up an early lead due to strong serving by Elisabeth Webster and won game one after leading the entire way.

In the second set, First Baptist began to get its power game going with seniors Abby Cockrell, Megan Farmer and Tiffany Stancill notching five kills each. Junior Kelly Brown came off the bench and delievered some key service points to close out the set.

Accurate setting by Janna Williams, three blocks by Cockrell and strong passing by Stancil and libero Christine Joslin all helped the First Baptist attack.

In the third set, First Baptist jumped out to a 6-2 lead thanks to strong serving by Hannah Fagan.

The teams went back and forth until late in the game when First Baptist had trouble receiving serve and allowed the last two Gateway servers to score eight quick points.

Set four saw strong setting by Fagan and Williams and well-placed attacks plus key blocks by Cockrell. Joslin, Stancil, sophomore Anna Carr, and freshman Zoe Waddell covered the court extremely well defensively.

Gateway broke open a tight set five with some deeply placed attacks and finished off the match 15-10.

“We have always been a strong serving and hitting team. Christine Joslin and Tiffany Stancil have led by example in aggressively covering the court and letting no short balls hit the court,” Cockrell said.

“I couldn’t be happier with how we are playing. Megan Farmer has consistently served and hit the ball powerfully and Abby Cockrell played as dominantly as middle hitter as we’ve ever had a player play,” he said.

Cockrell led the Lady Crusaders with a school-record 26 kills and added eight blocks. Williams and Fagan combined for 36 assists. Farmer and Stancil combined for 17 kills.

First Baptist hosts matches on Monday, against BEACH, on Tuesday, against Veritas, and on Thursday, against Alliance.

Virginia Independent Schools – Girls Volleyball State Poll

Div. 1

1. Madeira School

2. Flint Hill School

3. Nansemond-Suffolk Academy

4. Liberty Christian Academy

5. Trinity Episcopal School

6. Norfolk Academy

7T. Paul VI High School

7T. St. Catherine’s School

9. St. Anne’s-Belfield School

10. Collegiate School