Lady Bears secure season sweep

Published 4:49 pm Saturday, October 10, 2009

AHOSKIE – This year teamwork has been the key.

Thanks to that effort, the Hertford County High School volleyball team completed a season sweep with a 3-0 win over rival Bertie High Thursday at the HCHS gym for the Lady Bears’ second win in Northeastern Coastal Conference play.

“We owe it all to the hard work we put in this summer,” said a smiling coach Jane Futrell after the match won by her team in three straight games, 25-15, 25-22, and 29-27. “I have to get the kids to realize that talent means not just showing up at game time.”

Bertie did not go down without a fight, however. The Lady Falcons took leads late in the final two games before bowing out eventually. The losses left Bertie winless on the season at 0-10 and 0-9 in league play. Hertford County is 5-14 and 2-8 in the NEC.

“I know how they feel,” added Futrell, nodding toward where the Bertie players were huddled on the court after the match. “We’ve been there before, too.

“But it’s also good to get this win on Homecoming Week.”

The quicker Lady Bears jumped out to an 11-5 lead in the first game before Bertie mounted a comeback, getting the score to 12-11 thanks to five straight points off serves. But Hertford County then took seven of the next eight points and were leading 20-14 when Bertie coach Alice Lyons called a timeout to re-group her squad.

No matter, as Hertford County closed it out with a 5-1 run thanks to a pair of kills from Jalessa Chinn.

Bertie opened the second game on a 6-4 run thanks to Hertford County errors on serves and returns and a smashing kill over the net from Bertie’s DeWanna Fennell. Bertie built that lead to 14-8 and seemed in control of the set until Jazima Ridley put together a string of service aces and trimmed the lead to 16-15.

Great net play forced a pair of return errors by both teams and then Bertie was called for over-the-net and the game was tied at 18-all.

It was tied at 20, Bertie, when the Lady Bears reeled off five of the next five points on two more Chinn kills , a service ace from Lerinda Fennell and a pair of Bertie errors. It put Hertford up 2-0 in the match.

Bertie was leading in the final game when the Lady Falcons were called for an out-of-rotation violation on serve and lost three points allowing Hertford County to creep within two at 10-8. From that call Bertie never seemed the same to the end; tying it six more times but never wresting the lead from the home team and losing the finale to complete the sweep.

“We let it slip away,” said a disappointed Bertie coach Alice Lyons. “They wanted it more than we did.

“Everybody’s just not on the same page,” she added. “We get that early lead and after that I guess we just didn’t believe in ourselves. They can do it, they just need that fortitude.”

“It was our series of side-outs,” said Futrell. “That’s what did it because none of us got much sleep because of the anticipation. Winning this match was special for us because we wanted it so bad.

“We really ‘brought it’ in those last two games,” she added. “They picked their spots and really did a good job of getting the ball in.”

With the sweep the Lady Bears now have a shot at securing the number-six seed in the NEC Volleyball Tournament October 19 and 20. The league’s top seed will receive a bye and the next three seeds will host first-round play on the first day of action before the finals are held at Bertie High on the Oct. 20.

“The tournament’s at our place,” said Lyons, “so anything can happen.”