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Eagles get perfect night despite imperfect play

November 05, 2003|by CURT HORNBECKER

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Had Lori Zick been looking for perfection Tuesday night, she would have left sorely disappointed.

Instead, the Hedgesville volleyball coach was all smiles after watching the Eagles sweep Jefferson, 25-23, 25-18, 25-21, to advance to the West Virginia Class AAA Region II, Section 1 Tournament at Hedgesville Middle School.

The Cougars advanced after downing Martinsburg 3-1 in the preliminary match.

"We could have served better and we could have passed better, but we got the job done," Zick said. "And I'm happy we got it done in three (games)."

But none of the games were a cakewalk for the Eagles. Jefferson held a 23-18 lead in the first game, but failed to put it away as Kayla Laing (eight kills, 12 digs and four aces) registered three kills during Lauren Pitzer's string of six straight service points to complete the Hedgesville comeback.

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"(Falling behind early) just made us push harder and want it more," Laing said. "Not a lot of people thought we could make it past the sectionals and we were out to prove we could."

Both teams experienced problems from the service line in Game 2, as the Cougars claimed a 15-13 edge before Hedgesville rallied for 12 of the game's final 15 points. The Eagles committed five service errors in the second game, but the Cougars failed to take advantage, committing four of their own.

It didn't help matters for Jefferson when middle hitter Amanda Trout went down with an ankle injury early in the game and was unable to return.

Losing Trout only served to amplify the fatigue factor that plagued the Cougars.

"I think (the girls) were getting tired," Jefferson coach Robin Rhodes said. "If we could have taken Martinsburg in three, it would have made a big difference."

Perhaps fatigue was a factor in the Cougars falling behind 9-2 early in the third game with five of the Eagles' points coming from unforced Jefferson errors.

Still, the Cougars managed to rally behind a combined eight service points from Emily Nibert, Courtini Williams and Carrie Sechlor, helping to propel Jefferson to a 15-14 edge.

Seven straight service points from Ryan Mills was enough to put it away for the Eagles, despite a run of four straight points by the Cougars.

Ironically, it was a Jefferson service error that scored the final point for the Eagles.

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