Victory over York lifts NK into Region I tournament
After splitting the first two games with York’s Falcons, New Kent’s Lady Trojans swept the final two to advance to the Bay Rivers District volleyball tournament semifinals and qualify for the Region I tourney.
The Oct. 30 victory upped the third-seeded Lady Trojans’ record to 15-6 while York’s season ended at 11-10.
New Kent cruised to an easy 25-12 win in game one, but lost concentration in game two as York rebounded with a 26-24 decision. The hosts then struggled to turn back the Falcons 25-19 in game three before taking command on the way to clinching the match 25-18 in game four.
“We were missing critical serves and our passing wasn’t that great,” coach Cyndi Burnett said concerning the Lady Trojans’ game two and three travails.
“But Hillary [Metheny] got some good, strong serves that got us going in game three,” she said. “Overall, it was a good team effort. If somebody was struggling, somebody else stepped up when we needed it.”
Among those not struggling were middle hitter Sharda Braxton, who registered a game-high 23 kills at the net, and setter Rachel Day, who was credited with 39 assists.
On the defensive side, Casey O’Leary set a new school record for digs in a single season. She needed five coming in to break the old mark of 222. Nineteen on the night ran her season total to 241.
New Kent made it look easy in game one as the hosts pulled away behind Rachel Day’s 5-0 service run that opened a 13-5 advantage. York never threatened as the hosts built as much as a 12-point lead.
Game two, however, featured a dozen ties before costly spiking errors on the Lady Trojans’ part broke the last deadlock at 24-24, enabling York to tie the match at a game apiece.
More errors in game three helped the Falcons stay in front past the midway point, but New Kent caught the visitors at 16-all and moved ahead to stay behind Metheny’s 5-0 service run punctuated by three Braxton kills. A Braxton shot aimed at an open spot in the Falcon defense handed the hosts the game three win.
Day’s serve, along with two more Braxton kills, opened a 5-0 lead to start game four. Braxton’s serve then helped extend the advantage to 12-3.
York rallied behind Carlie Hampton’s serve, closing the gap to 14-11 with a 7-0 run, but a bad pass after a Braxton shot ended the Falcon comeback. York remained within striking distance until three straight points from Braxton opened a 19-13 advantage. York never drew closer than four the rest of the way.
Ashton Wallace managed 11 kills for New Kent while Metheny and Jessica Phaup combined for 11 more. Phaup also contributed three aces.