Grafton denies New Kent sole possession of first place
Two days before taking on Grafton’s unbeaten Clippers for the top spot in the Bay Rivers District volleyball standings, New Kent coach Cyndi Burnett said the contest would reveal much about her Lady Trojans, also unbeaten at 5-0 in the district.
Grafton prevailed 25-18, 22-25, 25-8, 25-21 in last Thursday’s match at New Kent. Burnett, however, took note of her team’s positive revelations.
“We didn’t give up, and even when we got behind we still believed we could win,” she said. “Even though we lost, I thought tonight was kind of a confidence builder.”
New Kent tasted Grafton’s power at the net in game one. Behind middle hitter Alyssa Hall’s nine kills, the Clippers pulled away at the midpoint.
But the Lady Trojans bounced back in game two, taking the lead for good behind Megan Weaver’s serve and kills by Amanda Branch and Jena Williams during a run that built a 20-15 lead. New Kent took advantage of Clipper errors to even the contest at a game apiece.
The Clippers, however, owned game three. Britt Sorenson’s serve produced an 11-0 lead and the visitors never looked back.
“I think we were so excited about beating them in game two that we had a mental lapse and a little bit of a letdown,” Burnett said.
But New Kent regrouped to battle down to the wire in game four. The Lady Trojans overcame a 14-8 Grafton lead, overtaking the visitors at 15-15 behind Lena Ciaravino’s serve. But the Clippers broke the final deadlock at 20-20 on a net serve and gave up only one point the rest of the way.
“Lena’s tough serves took them out of their offense for a while, but we didn’t have anybody else consistently doing that,” Burnett said.
Karley Allen’s 11 kills, 10 from Williams, and Branch’s six highlighted New Kent’s offense. Ciaravino registered 20 assists and five aces. Allen led the defense with 20 digs while Sarah Barnett and Branch contributed eight and six, respectively.
Hall’s 18 kills, 16 from Morgan Kline, and Rachel Richards’ 42 assists paced Grafton.
“It’s possible to beat Grafton,” said Burnett, whose team is now 6-1 overall. “We’ve just got to tighten up on our serves, keep the ball in the court, and exercise more precision in our hitting.”