Fuqua School bests Lady Raiders in VCC semi-final

Published 10:32 am Friday, October 31, 2014

In a match where 3 of the 4 sets were within 4 points or fewer, it came down to the team that made the fewest mistakes. On Thursday night that was the No. 2 seeded Fuqua School Lady Falcons, who bested the No. 3 seeded Southampton Academy Lady Raiders in the VISAA Virginia Commonwealth Conference Semi-Finals.

SA’s Mason Pope looks for the kill. She had 16 on the night. -- Cain Madden | Tidewater News

SA’s Mason Pope looks for the kill. She had 16 on the night. — Cain Madden | Tidewater News

The Raiders got ahead in the first set 10-8, but then Fuqua scored the next 10 points. Southampton’s Mason Pope got a kill to help start a rally, and also during that rally, Haley Drewry had an ace. That ace was soon followed by one from Chelsea Beltrami, and the Raiders had closed to 17-21. The Lady Raiders got to 20-22 on a block from Ashten Hinkle, but after another point from SA, Fuqua’s Ariel Fowlkes put it away with a kill, as they closed the set 25-21.

In set 2, SA started out strong with kills from Pope and Hinkle helping the Raiders get to a 6-2 lead. And after trading a few points, Pope had a couple more big kills that helped SA go up 15-8.

It was looking good for SA at 24-17 off of a Beltrami ace, but then Fowlkes helped get FS back in it with her serving, and an ace closed the lead to 24-22. Several Lady Raider mistakes would enable FS to take the match 26-24.

Pope started set 3 off with a big kill to go up 1-0, and from there, the Raiders proceeded to march, particularly on the serve of Beltrami, who led them from 13-9 all the way to 21-9. Hinkle got a kill later to get the Lady Raiders the ball back, but ultimately they gave it right back on a bad serve. However, Fuqua returned the favor by hitting the serve into the net for the final point of the set, giving SA the 25-16 win.

Set 4 saw 6 ties in route to a 9-all beginning, when Fuqua pulled ahead a few points on the serve of Taylor Frink and a big block by Tessa Ayers. The Lady Raiders closed to 13-12 after getting the ball back and Beltrami pulling off another ace.

Fuqua then started to pull ahead, with several of their points coming off a Lady Raider hitting the ball out of bounds on kill attempts.

At 21-16, however, the Raiders started to close. Pope got a kill to get the ball back, and Drewry served up another ace. This was followed by kills by Pope and Jordan Marks.

Suddenly, it was tied at 22-all. Then, a Pope kill put the Lady Raiders ahead 23-22.

However, it wasn’t quite enough as Fuqua got the next three points to win 25-23.

“We lost, but I am proud of them,” said Head Coach Crystal Butler. “They fought hard — the other team just made less mistakes.

“But it was good to see the leaders on the court. I could see them taking charge and initiative and helping each other out.”

Pope led the way for the Lady Raiders. She had 16 digs, 16 kills and 10 blocks. Beltrami was 29 of 29 serving and had 4 aces. Allison Matthews had 14 digs. Hinkle had 5 kills and 5 blocks. Drewry had 12 assists. Pope, Avery Pope and Matthews were all 100 percent serving.

“We’ve got a lot of girls returning, and I feel like we will do better next year,” Butler said. “But I still couldn’t be more proud of what my girls did this year. It was not bad for a rebuilding year.”