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Cougars prove their mettle

October 02, 2002|by CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Jefferson volleyball players have gotten into a habit that Robin Rhodes would just as soon they break. The sooner the better.

"I think they always come back more after losing a game," said Rhodes. "I wish they wouldn't do that."

After dropping Game 2, the Cougars seemed to have little trouble downing rival Martinsburg, 15-5, 10-15, 15-10, 15-3 Tuesday night.

"It's just the personality of the players," Rhodes added. "I just think they like digging out of a hole to prove themselves."

The win was all the more satisfying for Jefferson after splitting with the Bulldogs in the Apple Valley League Tournament Saturday.

"I think this will get us back on track after Saturday," said Rhodes. "That was a big disappointment."

The Cougars seemed to suffer a mild letdown after dominating the first game, watching the Bulldogs rally from an 8-6 deficit to claim a 14-8 lead behind eight straight Megan Crowell service points.

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Martinsburg (1-13) enjoyed an early lead in Game 3, but Jefferson turned things around quickly, capitalizing on numerous Bulldogs errors and Amanda Sonday's net play as Heather Jenkins served five successive points to secure the win.

"We got a little tired in the third and fourth games," said Martinsburg coach Rob Saville. "That's something we'll need to work on in practice. I just want to make sure they don't get burned out too early."

After taking a 3-0 advantage in Game 4, Jefferson (6-1) was unable to establish control - the teams combined for 11 side-outs scoring just two points apiece - until Nicole Reed's five straight service points pushed the lead to 10-2.

The Cougars scored 11 of the game's final 12 points, and eight of those points came as a result of Martinsburg errors. Overall, 12 of Jefferson's 15 Game 4 points resulted from Bulldogs miscues.

"We're just trying to find something that's going to work for us," said Saville. "We need to jumble things around a little bit.

"They're a good team, but they're a team we can beat. We're so close to breaking out of this slump. We need to find somebody that's going to step up for us."

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