Lady Bulldogs pull off an upset

Published 10:37 pm Thursday, October 11, 2012

Down two sets to none on Senior Night, the King’s Fork High School Lady Bulldogs, who were playing their last home match of the season, helped serve up a thrilling come-from-behind farewell, defeating Nansemond River in five sets — 20-25, 22-25, 25-12, 25-22, 15-9.

“It was emotional, because we were down two games, and I had to pull my seniors aside. And I was like, ‘Look, we’ve been talking about this game all week,’” King’s Fork head coach Sarah Porter said. “They were getting frustrated and upset, because we were losing.”

DSCN1766 -- King's Fork senior Brenna Ginn awaits the Nansemond River serve during the Lady Bulldogs' five-set home victory on Senior Night.

Then Porter delivered a motivational speech that was taken quite seriously.

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“I was like, ‘All we can do is play. All right, you determine what’s going to happen tonight. We can either lose this third game, go home, hang your heads, be sad, or we go out there and we fight for it, and we make this a Cinderella story. That’s what they did. They stepped up, they went out there, and they played ‘til the last whistle.”

The Lady Bulldogs (7-17, 4-13) were led by three seniors: libero Taylor Beale had 20 digs, outside hitter Natalie Montgomery had 11 kills, and middle hitter Jasmine Wertz had eight kills and 10 aces.

Porter explained what turned the tide for her team.

“Our serves got better, our hitting got more aggressive, Nansemond unfortunately made a few mistakes that were in our favor,” she said. “I credit a lot of it to our libero Taylor Beale. She’s the heart and soul of the team. When she starts yelling and screaming back there, they just feed into it.”

“I’m happy, because we went out with a bang,” Beale said. “It’s Senior Night, and we left with five games. And we really worked hard for those five games. At first our energy level was down, but we really brought it up. I tried to keep the whole team as high and just excited as can be. I’m going to go home with a sore throat and a lost voice, but at the end of the day, it’s just all worth it.”

Lady Warriors head coach Christine Wood was understandably disappointed at the surprising turn of events.

“I am at a loss of words,” she said. “They come out and they do good; they just aren’t finishing the plays.”

Porter could not help but see the occasion through the lens of her established relationships with the seniors on the team.

“It’s a little emotional, because it’s the last home game for them and they’ll be gone and some of them I’ve been with for five years, since they were in eighth grade,” she said.

Volleyball season will conclude for the Lady Bulldogs next Monday at Great Bridge, but this final game in the Kennel may be the one the seniors cherish the most.