Lady Raiders rally back to defeat Fuqua School

Published 9:33 am Friday, September 12, 2014

The Lady Raiders celebrate on the court after coming back from being behind 2-0 to defeat Fuqua School in a conference match 3-2. -- Cain Madden | Tidewater News

The Lady Raiders celebrate on the court after coming back from being behind 2-0 to defeat Fuqua School in a conference match 3-2. — Cain Madden | Tidewater News

COURTLAND—After losing the first two sets 25-18, 25-16 and falling behind in the third set, it wasn’t looking good for the home team. But then sophomores Mason Pope and Jordan Marks got going with big kills that swung the momentum in set 3 and ultimately the match.

The Lady Raiders of Southampton Academy were facing off against the Lady Falcons of Fuqua School in a Division 3 VISAA Virginia Commonwealth Conference volleyball match on Tuesday, in which the Raiders ultimately prevailed 3-2.

With kills by Pope and Marks set up by Haley Drewry, and several aces by the squad, SA took a close set 3, 25-22. SA battled to a 17-14 lead, but the Falcons clawed right back, ultimately tying it at 19-all, then again evening it at 20 and 21.

The Raiders then pulled ahead, scoring two points in a row before the Falcons responded to make it 23-22, still favoring SA. The Raiders scored the next two points to win the set.

Sets 4 was never really in question. The Raiders were up 20-7 before Fuqua put together a little rally that was partially aided by bad Raider serves, as SA ultimately prevailed 25-13.

Set 5, a tie-breaking battle to 15 points, began 2-0 Raiders before the Falcons scored a point and got as close as they would get to SA’s score at 2-1. The Raiders climbed to 6-2, aided by kills from Pope and Marks.

The Falcons would try to get back in it, getting as close as three points behind, but they were ultimately vanquished on a big kill from Pope to end the match 15-9.

“This was pretty much the first competitive team that we’ve faced,” said Head Coach Crystal Butler. “So, I knew that it would be a challenge for them. They’ve been used to playing slower teams, so it took a little bit of an adjustment.”

In the first two sets, Butler had called several timeouts trying to get them to communicate better and move their feet. In set 3, she started to call a timeout to preach the same message but was not heard by the referee.

She then saw the team come together and deferred on the timeout.

“I think we just started playing our game, versus reacting to their game,” Butler said. “Once they starting doing that, there really wasn’t a lot of stopping us.”

The first-year coach said that she was really proud of her girls for battling back.

“These girls are just wonderful,” Butler said. “Once we kind of broke down, they were able to build each other back up. That was the biggest thing, good leadership.”

One leader she pointed to was her senior captain Drewry.

“She really stepped up,” Butler said. “This is her first year ever setting, and she had the most assists.”

Drewry had done a great job feeding Pope, who also had a great game.

“It took Mason a while to get warmed up, and a part of that is that we couldn’t set her up,” Butler said. “But we started getting better passes to her setter, and there’s just no stopping Mason then.”

Pope finished the night with 11 kills, and she also had 8 blocks. Marks had 8 kills, and during her time on the court, she also had no errors. Drewry had 12 assists. Allison Matthews had 5 aces and 6 digs.

The Raiders improve to 5-0 overall, and 4-0 in conference play. They traveled to play Kenston Forest on Thursday in a game that was not over before deadline and will next play Richmond Christian at home on Tuesday, Sept. 16.