Thomas Dale wins duel over Prince George
By David Breidenbach
Sep 23, 2013, 21:02
David Breidenbach/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
PRINCE GEORGE—If you are going to have a five set match in volleyball, it is better to have the odds in your favor. In the case of Thomas Dale and Prince George’s girls’ volleyball match Thursday night, the Knights won games one, three, and five went home with their second win of the season, a five set 3-2 victory.
Bethany Brown, one of Thomas Dale’s key senior captains, was particularly effective throughout the match, finishing with 17 kills and three blocks. But she was most effective when the Knights needed settling on the court.
Arianna Haywood, the Knights new volleyball coach, said that Brown, Abby Kid
and Makalah Cribb were senior leaders who were instrumental in Thomas Dale’s win.
“Serve, pass, and communicate is our game. As long as we do that, we have a good chance to earn a win,” Haywood said.
IIt’s not so surprising that Brown, whose jump serve served notice in the final set, finished the night with a kill from the left side of the net. But on this night, it seemed when the Knights needed a big play, Brown was ready and waiting. In one point in the fourth set, Brown had hit a deep ball the back line and the Lady Royals were on it and sent it straight back. Brown was waiting.
The Royals couldn’t handle her second hit to the back line.
“When the game gets really exciting I kind of push myself to the limit. And when I get a set, my mind just stops and all I think about is hitting the ball as hard as I can,” Brown said.
While Brown always seemed to be a key component to the win, she said other players on the team were just as important. The difference between the games they won and the games they lost had more to do with the team’s effort than it did with any single player.
“I would say when the team got together we started playing better; I wouldn’t say it was me as an individual,” Brown said.
Brown led the Knights with 17 kills and three blocks; Cribb added 7 aces, 9 kills, and 16 assists; Taylor Palmer chipped in 10 assists, 3 digs, and 3 aces; and Sydney Frink had 25 digs, 8 kills, and 2 blocks. On the Lady Royals side, Perkins finished with 7 aces, 6 digs, and 8 blocks; Erica Wilson had 16 assists, 2 aces, and 2 digs.
David Breidenbach/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
Certainly, other players came to the fore for the Knights, especially in the fifth set. Tied at 2 points, Brown came in and stroked a pair of jump serves to give Thomas Dale the lead at 4-2.
Prince George got a stop when Justice Webb blocked a shot. Mandi Cummings followed with a point to even the score at four each, and Lexi Lyons’ unreturnable kill gave Prince George a 6-4 lead.
Emily Johnson hit a pair of serves to give the Knights an 8-6 lead that they would not relinquish, despite Prince George’s late rally. Jocelyn Perkins, who was a terror all over the floor for the Lady Royals, hit a kill down the line to close the gap to one point, and Webb tied the score at 8 with a kill at the net.
An unforced error gave the Knights a side out, and the lead for good at 9-8. That opened the door for the Knights’ service game. Cribb hit back to back aces to the deep middle to make the score 11-8. After holding serve on the next volley for a four point lead, Cribb came back to the deep middle ace for 13-8.
Prince George wasn’t ready to quit, however. Lyons hit a drop shot at the net to stop the streak, and Perkins followed with two kills to make the score 13-11. On the next volley, Thomas Dale benefitted from a difficult back line call.
They were credited with a point to make the score 14-11, but the ball may have been out. Then, only needing one point to close out the match, Brown set up on the left side of the net and was calling for the set. She got it, and nailed a kill to the back sideline for the win.
Dale took a quick lead in the first set, running out to a 12 point lead. But Prince George closed the gap, falling 25-21. The second set was all Prince George, 25-14. But Haywood said she was trying new players and different combinations, which may have affected the team’s consistency.
Despite the team’s 0-6 start, Coach Wanda Gilbert said her team was playing well. They had played some tough matches against very good teams, she said. Perkins played very well against Thomas Dale and was dangerous in all aspects, serving, digs, kills and blocks, she said.
“We had a hard time handling their serve in the first game. I am very pleased with this team. When you have good people it makes it a lot easier. They are cheering for each other and that’s the way it should be,” Gilbert said.
Highlights: Bethany Brown (TD) 17 kills, 3 blocks; Makalah Cribb (TD) 7 aces, 9 kills, 16 assists; Taylor Palmer (TD) 10 assists, 3 digs, 3 aces; Sydney Frink (TD) 25 digs, 8 kills, 2 blocks; Jocelyn Perkins (PG) 7 aces, 16 kills, 6 digs, 8 blocks; Erica Wilson (PG) 16 assists, 2 aces, 2 digs.