SA volleyball team sluggish in early season

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 11, 2007

COURTLAND—Something happened at the Southampton Academy volleyball match Tuesday that hasn’t happened in eight years. The Lady Raiders actually lost a Virginia Commonwealth Conference game.

No matter. Southampton Academy still had enough left in the tank to down Brunswick Academy 25-20, 21-25, 25-14, and 25-19.

The Lady Raiders, perennial champions of the VCC, could have their hands full this year with likes of Brunswick and Christchurch School. Shawn Denne, Southampton Academy head coach, said those three teams should contend for the conference title. SA has a young team this season and started the Campaign 3-0 with little competition.

&uot;I’m hoping this will wake our team up a bit. Some of the girls are resting on their laurels from what past seniors have done and that we’re going to win if we just show up. I think they found out tonight that they are beatable if we come out and don’t play well and the other team shows up

ready to play,&uot; Denne said.

In the opening game, Brunswick scored the first four points, but the Lady Raiders (4-0) rallied back and took the game 25-20.

Game two was a different story. SA took an 11-7 lead on two straight service points by Nicole Reedy. But Brunswick then went on a 7-0 run and never trailed the rest of the way.

The Lady Raiders could not handle Lauren Johnson’s service for six of those points and BA took a 14-11 lead. The Lady Raiders made several unforced errors the rest of the game.

&uot;We didn’t call the ball. We weren’t aggressive. We gave them a lot of cheap points rather than making them score against us,&uot; Denne said.

Case in point, on three consecutive plays, SA set up BA’s best player, Brittany Raney who hammered home three spikes to keep the Lady Vikings in the lead at 19-16.

To their credit, the Lady Raiders responded to losing game two by coming back stronger in games three and four. Trailing 7-8 in game three, Southampton Academy ripped off eight straight points. The last four points of the run came on a tip by Reedy, two straight spikes by Sarah McFarland, and another tip by Forrest Best. SA gave up just four more points in the game.

Although game four was closer, the Lady Raiders were in control most of the way, and strung some short three and four-point runs together, while Brunswick could not get more than one point at a time.

Susan Gansor, who is approaching 1,000 kills, had 14 kills and four blocks on the evening. McFarland chipped in with six kills.

&uot;I am happy that we won, but not really happy about the way we played,&uot; Denne said.

&uot;Our inexperience showed a little bit tonight. A lot of it is they are trying to work together and it’s going to take some time to get that chemistry. It hasn’t helped that we haven’t had much competition in our first three matches.&uot;

Southampton Academy plays at Fuqua School on Tuesday.