Colonials Split Doubleheader
By David Breidenbach, Correspondent
Oct 25, 2013, 08:59
David Breidenbach/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
COLONIAL HEIGHTS—When last they met, a spunky Colonial Heights team managed to come away with a 5-set, 3-2 victory at Thomas Dale. This time, however, the Knights were ready for the Colonials and all everything hitter Will Ragland was there to ensure of the outcome favored his team.
Ragland fired 28 kills and had 5 aces in pushing his team back on top of the former Central District standings with a three-set, 25-17, 25-21, 25-17 win that was never in doubt. The Knights stepped out right away and fed Ragland throughout the match, and especially when they needed a critical point.
“That’s the difference right there. They fed him and kept on feeding him, we didn’t do that,” Colonials Coach Mark Lee said.
Despite his gaudy kill statistics on the night, Ragland was quick to note that the win was a team effort. While his scoring shows up in the statistics, he wouldn’t get a chance at all if it weren’t for great play by the rest of the team.
Good passing and good setting are needed in order for the hitters to have a chance to close the points.
“I try and be there for my team. In this match, we knew we were the better team. Hitting is big, but if you don’t have that pass it’s not there, and if you don’t get the set it’s not there. I try to be the most consistent I can be, but if
it’s not there I tell them to find someone else,” Ragland said.
But on this night, the Knights didn’t need to find much else. While Andrew Ray chipped in with 7 kills, it was more the play of Cory Allgood that allowed the Knights to take advantage of the Colonials. Allgood struck for 40 assists on the night, with the majority going to Ragland. And Ragland responded by keeping the Colonials’ on their heels.
“I think he (Ragland) is one of the best players in the state. He has worked his butt off and he has really come on this year; I am very happy to have him on the team. At the same time, you have to have other players. Andrew has played very well, and has been extremely clutch for us. And this is Cory’s first time setting. He has worked hard and improved. He has everything right mentally and you decide on setters by their brain—they are the quarterback and he has improved a great deal over the season,” Thomas Dale Coach Josh Knight said.
The Colonials young and inexperienced team had problems blocking in general. Despite good height at the net, the Knights had a decisive advantage with their hitting. In the end, it was too much Thomas Dale for the Colonials.
“We had little spurts here and there, but we were just not the same team we were a month ago when we beat them, and they were not the same team; they hit the ball better. They were prepared for us this time, last time they took us for granted. We go through spells where we don’t play as well as we can and the next week we’re strong. That’s the sign of a young team, an inexperienced team,” Colonials Coach Mark Lee said.
Lee said that under the current Virginia High School League conferences that the Colonials would likely have several “home” matches throughout the Conference tournament. Then, depending on where they finish first in the tournament, they may host a state tournament home match.
David Breidenbach/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
With Mia Heydet back in the rotation it was easy to see why the Colonials had little problem fending off Thomas Dale in three sets, 25-22, 25-17, 25-17, Wednesday night.
The win lifts the Colonials to 11-9 on the season, while the Knights fall to 8-8. The Colonials will likely get at least one home match in the Conference tournament, providing the season finishes out as expected.
Heydet’s play, which Colonials Coach Toni Martin said is much different than it had been in past seasons, led to critical kills throughout the match. Martin said that she has become a much smarter player, seeing strategic spots on the floor and then making the play to get the kill.
“Mia is seeing the court real well. She’s a different player this year than she has been; she’s a lot more thoughtful now, she’s thinking, ‘oh the line’s open’ and lets the ball go that way,” Martin said.
But they are also getting stellar play from Savannah Couch who will likely set a new school record for assists Thursday against Meadowbrook. Couch came into the match against Thomas Dale needing 34 assists to tie Morgan Jones’ school record 978 assists. She finished the night with 32 assists, two shy of Jones’ record, but well within distance of being the Colonials first setter to finish her career with over 1,000 assists.
“There’s a few of them that carry the weight. Savannah is one of them,” Martin said.
But Kayla Boyd is another. Kayla is perhaps the most consistent hitter the team has had since Lindsay Bauer. Whenever the Colonials are in need of a big play, Boyd seems to be the one to make it happen. Her scoring line Wednesday: 15 kills, 11 digs, 3 blocks, and 2 assists is living proof of what she means to the team’s effort.
While the Colonials closed in three sets, the Knights put up a fight in the early parts of the second set. Behind Bethany Brown’s field play and hitting, Sidney Frinks’ net play, and Makalha Cribb and Taylor Palmer’s setting, the Knights took an early lead in the second set. Racing out to a 9-3 lead, the Knights appeared to be in prime position to earn a win in the second set.
But the Colonials battled back in, finally getting the lead at 13-12 on Mia Heydet’s hit away from the defense to the back corner of the court.
From that point on, the Colonials took control and rode out the match. Boyd finished with 15 kills, 11 digs, 3 blocks, and 2 assists; Couch had 32 assists, 3 blocks, and 2 kills, Lindsey Nowland had 25 digs and 4 aces, Taylor Banty 14 digs, and Heydet 10 kills and 13 digs. Brown led the nights with 15 kills, 4 aces, 2 block; and 14 digs; Frink chipped in with 11 blocks, 10 kills, and 12digs; Cribb had 10 kills, 10 aces, and 11 digs; and Palmer had 8 digs, 10 assists.