'Hawks Handle Colonials in Five
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Oct 17, 2012, 12:42
Colonial Heights junior Kayla Boyd (6) strikes the ball past L.C. Bird's Sarah Bowles in a non-district match on Monday. The visiting Skyhawks won 3-2 (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
COLONIAL HEIGHTS – Monday’s non-district volleyball match between Colonial Heights and L.C. Bird was marked by symmetry and defined by a match-long battle at the net.
Two dueling middle blockers – Colonial Heights senior Krista Williams and L.C. Bird junior Courtney Wiseman – shook hands under the twine before the first set and proceeded to unleash a seemingly ceaseless barrage of kills and blocks for the duration of the contest.
Wiseman got the final word, solidifying a five-set victory (23-25, 25-19, 23-25, 25-20, 15-10) for the visiting Skyhawks with her 22nd kill of the evening.
“Those two probably made that game,” said L.C. Bird coach Sarah Podlesh. “That’s why it was so exciting. One would get a kill and then the other would get a kill, and it would just kind of go back and forth.”
The fact that the match was closely contested was a sign of growth for Colonial Heights. The Skyhawks swept the Colonials in an early-season matchup.
Colonial Heights coach Toni Martin said she was using the outing as a diagnostic tool as the postseason approaches.
“I was pleased that we took them to five this time and that we got some wins in this one,” Martin said. “Being non-district, it was a lot less stressful. At this point in the season, it’s nice to have non-district games because you can look at some things and it’s not a must-win situation.”
Martin attributed the improvement to experience. While the Colonials’ roster lists several upperclassmen, many took on unfamiliar roles this season.
“They’re kind of all freshmen in one sense,” Martin said. “Because they’re all doing something new.”
The Skyhawks surged to a 5-0 lead in the opening set, but the Colonials were brimming with fighting spirit on this night.
Paced by Williams, the home team rallied to tie the game at 9-9. Wiseman countered the resurgence with her unwavering production, but Colonials junior Kayla Boyd came alive to close out the game.
Boyd produced a timely ace to level the score at 22-22 and served out the set. Williams provided the decisive moment, clinching the come-from-behind win with a strike that the Skyhawks’ backline could not control.
“We don’t necessarily revolve around Krista,” Martin said. “But we revolve around Krista and Kayla.”
L.C. Bird jumped out to another five-point lead in Game 2 – this time a 7-2 advantage – and never trailed en route to a 25-19 victory. Wiseman, Julia Stech and Sydney Primm keyed the equalizing effort by combining for nine kills that kept the Colonials at bay.
“I think we kind of started out a little bit slow,” Podlesh said. “We have to use Courtney, she’s our big hitter. We get in a rut sometimes, but we’re pretty good at getting it back together.”
The do-si-do persisted in Games 3 and 4.
The Colonials reclaimed the lead by winning a third set that featured 15 ties and eight lead changes. Williams broke a 23-23 deadlock with a much-needed kill and the home team secured a 25-23 win with a clinching ace to put the visitors on the brink.
Once again, however, the Skyhawks rebounded to stave off elimination, leading by as many as seven on their way to a 25-20 win that forced a fifth set.
The Colonials fell behind early in the decisive frame as Primm spurred the Skyhawks to a lightning-fast start with three kills. Unforced errors erased any chance of a Colonial Heights comeback and Wiseman punctuated the narrow win with a cross-court strike.
“There was stuff that was entirely in our control that we didn’t control,” Martin said. “We hit the ball out, we hit the ball into the net and we didn’t pass well.
“They didn’t beat us in the fifth game, we handed them extra points.”
In addition to her match-high kill total, Wiseman tallied 34 digs and five blocks. Primm chipped in with 13 kills and seven blocks as L.C. Bird improved to 10-6 on the season.
For Colonial Heights, Williams registered 19 blocks, 17 kills and two digs while Boyd tallied team highs in kills with 21 and aces with four.
Savannah Couch finished the match with 34 assists and two aces for the Colonials, who fell to 9-10 on the season (7-2 Central District).
Martin said the goal is to finish the regular season without sustaining a third district loss.
“As long as you’re improving as the season goes on, you’re doing what you need to do,” Martin said. “We’ve improved since the last time we saw them and we’re playing better now then we were at the beginning of the season.”
COLONIAL HEIGHTS – The Colonial Heights boys volleyball team defeated visiting L.C. Bird 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-15) in a non-district match on Monday.
“It went very well,” said Colonial Heights coach Mark Lee. “This was one very experienced team and another that wasn’t quite as experienced. That was the big difference.”
Ryan Battle led the way for the home team with 11 kills, four blocks and two aces while Kyle Hogwood, Brett Dempsey and Blake Branzelle combined to notch 19 kills. Thompson Rowe finished with a match-high 22 assists.
L.C. Bird junior Devin Baber registered five kills and three blocks while Mitchell Heath paced the Skyhawks’ defense with seven digs.
The Colonials were without the services of Doug Jackson, a frontline player who specializes in blocking. Jackson has been sidelined indefinitely with an illness, but Lee said he is hopeful that the team will be able to overcome the loss with sound defense.
“This is one of the best passing and defensive teams I’ve ever had,” Lee said. “With Jamil Aboulhousn, Kevin Napier and Blake Cox in the back, we cover a lot of stuff and that’s a big difference. Everybody blocks and everybody hits, but if you can cover on defense that gives you a bigger edge.”
Colonial Heights also defeated Dinwiddie in four sets (25-22, 25-13, 23-25, 25-21) on Tuesday. The victory means the team remains in a tie with Matoaca for second place in the Central District standings.
The consecutive wins boosted the Colonials’ record to 7-3 in district play, 11-5 overall.
Colonial Heights' Ryan Battle tries for a block against L.C. Bird's Cooper Stewart during a non-district match on Monday. The Colonials won 3-0 (photo by Jacob Vaughan).