Lawrence volleyball edges Lady Rams

Published 2:38 pm Thursday, September 3, 2009

AHOSKIE – It was a game that saw good hits, tremendous volleys and a ton of heart.

While both Lawrence Academy and Ridgecroft School played well at times during a four-set affair here Tuesday afternoon, it was the Lady Warriors who walked out with a 26-24, 20-25, 25-22 and 25-21 Tarheel Independent Conference victory.

“It was exactly what always happens when there is a TIC volleyball match,” said Lawrence Academy Head Volleyball Coach Dr. Ed Clouse. “Both teams had chances to fold up, but neither did. We battled down to the last point.”

That statement was especially true in the first game when Lawrence trailed 24-21, but came back to win. With the score at 24-21, Dr. Clouse called a timeout and brought his troops together.

“I told the girls that all we had to do was get the ball back and score four straight,” Dr. Clouse said. “I told them we’ve done it before so just do it. It seemed to help them relax.”

When they took the floor, the Warriors had indeed relaxed as they rolled off five unanswered to claim the first set.

While that may have taken the wind out of the sails of many teams, it didn’t hinder the Lady Rams, however, as Ridgecroft rallied back to win the second set by a count of 25-20.

“I was so pleased with the way they pulled together and played as a team,” said second-year Ridgecroft volleyball boss Susan Oliver. “When you get into conference, the competition steps up and I thought we responded well in that second game, despite losing the first one.”

The second game was a back-and-forth affair until Ridgecroft opened up a six-point advantage. Sara Hackney started the spurt with a tip winner that gave the serve to Brice Harrison. Harrison then rolled off four straight points thanks in part to back-to-back winning shots by Emily Cooke and Lindsay Jacob.

Lawrence couldn’t get anything going to stop the spurt and Ridgecroft continued to pull away later in the game when Hackney served two straight winners thanks to a kill by Cooke that made it 15-9.

The Lady Warriors then closed the gap to just three points (16-13) thanks to a great tip by Ashtyn Mizelle and three straight service points from Casey Belch.

The second game remained close until Mary Kate Morris rolled off three straight points from her serve to give Ridgecroft a 24-19 lead. They won the game two points later.

In the third game it was Lawrence who jumped out to the early lead, getting five consecutive points off the serve of Melissa White to take the early advantage.

Ridgecroft, however, battled back, getting three points off the serve of Mary Myers to close the gap and then a pair of digs from Jacob that set up the tying point on Cooke’s serve, knotting the score at 8-all.

The Lady Rams were able to edge ahead (15-12) thanks to four consecutive points off Morris’s serve, but Lawrence rallied back when a Belch dig and an Ashton Lyle block helped tie the score at 16-all.

Mizelle and Jennifer White had kills for Lawrence down the stretch that helped the Lady Warriors secure a 25-22 win.

In the final game of the match, Lawrence jumped out to an 8-1 lead and the match never got closer than four points as the Lady Warriors led wire-to-wire.

Lyle got things going early for Lawrence with three straight service points while Taylor Sexton added another three, including an ace.

Ridgecroft got solid hitting from Hackney, Cooke and Jacob, but it wasn’t enough to get them back into the set. Lawrence won that game 25-21 and secured the match.

“I was pleased we didn’t roll over and die even though the emotional level seemed like we were,” Dr. Clouse said. “Usually we’re pumped for Ridgecroft, but for some reason we didn’t have the same energy today.”

Oliver said her team is still learning to play together with four new starters, including a pair who came straight from the junior varsity ranks.

“I commended the girls on their attitudes and how they kept pulling together,” Oliver said. “We’re adjusting to a lot of new things and I think they’re doing it well.”

Jennifer White paced Lawrence in the serving category by hitting good on all 11 of her serves. Both Belch and Melissa White were also above the 95 percent mark. Mizelle led the team with nine kills while White added five. Sexton had 19 assists in the match.

The win boosted Lawrence to 5-0 overall this season and 1-0 in the Tarheel Independent Conference. Ridgecroft fell to 2-2 and 0-1.