Prince George Boys, Girls Sweep Petersburg
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Oct 11, 2012, 13:23
Prince George sophomore Eddie Saunders (8) strikes the ball as Petersburg’s Earl Adams defends during a Central District game on Tuesday. The Royals won in straight sets (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
PETERSBURG – How sweep it is.
The Prince George boys and girls volleyball teams both secured straight-set victories over Petersburg on Tuesday. In the process, both squads took a step towards qualifying for next month’s Central District tournament.
On the strength of a consistent outing from middle blockers Jon Ryan Campbell and Bryant Marks, the boys team prevailed 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-23).
Prince George coach Dan Pulskamp said he was pleased to see the Royals incorporate a few long-lost plays on the offensive side of the ball.
“When we had good passing, we were able to run some pieces of our offense that we hadn’t seen in a while,” Pulskamp said.
But Pulskamp also said he was hoping for a more disciplined display and pointed to his team’s eight service errors in the final set as evidence of a lack of concentration.
“That’s all mental focus,” Pulskamp said. “No one makes you serve into the net but yourself.”
The Crimson Wave made the faster start in the opening set as junior Kaimonne Douglas registered consecutive aces to give the home team a 3-0 lead. The Royals rallied, however, and Campbell’s cross-court kill tied the game at 9-9.
Prince George forged ahead with an 11-1 run that made the score 24-13 and, after a brief Petersburg resurgence, Nelson Leary clinched the first-game win with a kill.
The second set followed the same pattern. With Campbell, a senior, and Marks, a junior, at the forefront, the Royals led by as many as eight points.
“Our offense runs through our middles,” Pulskamp said. “That’s a strong point of our team.”
Petersburg senior Earl Adams tallied two of his team-high six kills in the second, but the effort was for naught as the visitors pulled out their second 25-17 win of the night.
Several mid-season departures have whittled the Crimson Wave roster down to six names, meaning the team has no reserve players. Remarkably, the home team saved its best effort for last against the Royals.
The final frame was characterized by self-inflicted wounds for Prince George and a renewed sense of vigor for Petersburg.
Sophomore Jamil Dudley found an unprotected spot on the Royals’ backline with a kill that knotted the score at 17-17. The Crimson Wave continued to linger, but Campbell stifled the comeback bid with a pair of kills that prevented a fourth set.
“We’ve been playing like that for three games now where they haven’t had any subs,” said Petersburg coach Brooke Kistner. “They’re definitely learning how to play strong throughout all three games.”
Despite playing in only two sets, Jacob Spain racked up 10 assists for Prince George. Marks and Campbell combined for 16 kills while Marks carried the bulk of the defensive load with four blocks.
Adams finished with eight kills and Gio Capate walked off the court with six assists for Petersburg, which fell to 0-8 on the season.
Prince George improved to 5-3 in district play, 5-7 overall. A road bout with Meadowbrook looms on Thursday.
Prince George girls volleyball coach Wanda Gilbert warned her team about the dangers of complacency before a Central District road match against Petersburg on Tuesday.
“I told them before the game not to take anything for granted,” Gilbert said. “Anything can happen on any given night. You never know.”
The team heeded her advice, making the subsequent contest far from suspenseful. The Royals never trailed en route to a 3-0 (25-9, 25-10, 25-4) victory in William Lawson Jr. Gymnasium.
Prince George senior Katie Garrett toed the service line to start the first game and reeled off a series of aces and troublesome serves. By the time the outside hitter’s serving stint concluded, the Royals led 9-0. That set the stage for a comfortable win in the opening set.
The visitors claimed the second set with similar ease, and Garrett stepped up to the line again to start the third frame. Just as she did in the opening minutes, Garrett put the game out of reach before the home team’s first serve. This time the gap was 18-0 before a service error ended her reign.
In all, Garrett tallied 14 aces as Prince George improved to 4-4 in the district (4-10 overall).
“She is a huge leader,” Gilbert said. “When she and [freshman Alexis Lyons] are on, we do really well. Those are my two outsides.”
Gilbert said the team is eying a return to next month’s district tournament after missing out on post-season play last year.
“We haven’t had very many years when we haven’t been in the district tournament,” Gilbert said. “We’d like to go back after last year.”
In order to do so, Prince George will have to emerge from a clustered group of fourth-place contenders that includes Dinwiddie, Thomas Dale and Meadowbrook.
Prince George High School girls volleyball coach Wanda Gilbert addresses her team during a Central District game against Petersburg on Tuesday. The Royals cruised to a 3-0 (25-9, 25-10, 25-4) victory to improve to 4-4 in district outings (photo by Jacob Vaughan).