HCHS ladies edge Bertie

Published 11:28 pm Friday, September 9, 2011

WINDSOR – Slugfest.

Hertford County and Bertie High Schools’ first volleyball meeting of the new year had all the hallmarks of a prizefight.

Back-and-forth, no clear front-runner, time-outs, substitutions, and, oh yes: a case of the nerves.

It’s what happens when you both want your first win of the season and you can get it against your biggest rival.

In the end, the Lady Bears (1-3)  took a road win, three games to two, over the host Lady Falcons (0-2) Thursday evening at the Bertie High gymnasium.

But the home team didn’t go down without a fight as the visitors eked out a three-point win in the fifth and deciding set with Hertford County winning the match, 12-25, 25-20, 25-23, 23-25, and 15-12.

“The girls hustled,” said a not-too disappointed first-year Bertie coach Abby Parker, “their (Hertford County’s) serves are what got us mostly.

“We’ll come back Monday, ” she added, “get our serves together and hopefully keep it going.”

“We’d been off almost a week because of the storm,” said veteran Hertford County coach Jane Futrell, “and this win here was great for our confidence.

“Our motto this year is ‘Life is in the power of the tongue’,” she added. “If you’re speaking it and you put in the work then it has to come to pass.”

Both teams put in hard work in the first game of the match.

Leading, 7-4, Bertie reeled off a dozen of the next 14 points including 10 in a row to take a 19-6 lead thanks to a couple of kills from Mattison Boyd and a pair of service aces from Tyessence Martin.

Hertford County made a late run to cut the deficit to 10 (21-11), before the Lady Falcons took advantage of four straight return errors before winning the game when Hertford County served into the net.

Neither team could mount a run in the second game.

It was 15-all when Hertford County used the strong serves of Laura Henderson to score seven straight points as Bertie could not make a return.

Ahead in the match, 22-16, the Lady Bears then had to hold off a furious Bertie rally before taking a five-point win.

Game three opened with a flurry of kills from Hertford County’s frontline of Tabitha Privott and Cameron Jones, easily blocking and collecting strong digs on Bertie returns.  Still the Lady Falcons were persistent and mid-match it was 15-15.

After Hertford County took a five-point lead, Bertie got within three at 22-19  before strong serving again benefited the Lady Bears. Hertford County winning the third set on a service ace by Jones.

Facing elimination in the fourth set, Bertie rose to the challenge.

With Hertford County leading, 16-15, the Lady Bears got a kill from Sherneice Futrell who followed that up with a service ace and at 19-16, looked poised to close the Lady Falcons out.

But Parker gave her team an impassioned speech during a timeout and the girls responded.

Zevonia Swain sparked the rally with crisp play and Bertie tied it at 21-all. However, Hertford County took the next two points and was two away from a sweep.

Instead, Bertie reeled off four straight with the game-winner coming when a Hertford County return caromed out-of-bounds off a ceiling beam.  It was now down to a fifth and deciding set.

It appeared Bertie would complete the comeback as they collected seven of the first 11 points. But Sherneice Futrell helped rally Hertford County and they got six of the next seven to surge into the lead, 10-8.  Bertie then rallied with four in a row to retake the lead, 12-10.

But the Lady Falcons would score no more.

Hertford County’s final five points came on a Bertie service error, a kill by Jones, a service ace from Henderson and two return errors before the teams and the crowd let out a loud ‘Whoop’ at the finish.

“We’re not too consistent right now,” said Parker, “but we’ll be better come Monday before our next game on Tuesday.

Not to mention a heckuva rematch coming up next month in Ahoskie.