New Kent downs Southampton on road, advance in 3A Regional tournament
After falling in the first set, New Kent’s Lady Trojans focused more on team then they did as individuals during the Nov. 6 Group 3A Region A quarterfinals at Southampton High School. The sacrifice worked.
Rebounding behind the leadership of senior Raven Harris, New Kent defeated Southampton 19-25, 25-11, 25-19, 25-22 for a trip to the semifinal round to face Bay Rivers District foe Tabb.
New Kent struggled in the first set, with errors and a lack of focus forcing Lady Trojan head coach Cynthia Burnett to call a timeout after her team trailed by five. Her stoppage allowed the visitors to rally to tie the game at 10 apiece, before Southampton recovered for the next six points, eventually claiming the set.
But in stanza two, the pep talk from the Lady Trojan coach settled in with her group. The visitors jumped out to a 20-8 lead, highlighted by Haley Hyndshaw’s kill that deflected off Southampton’s Anaya Bell. New Kent strung together the final points to knot the match at one game apiece.
Both teams seesawed in set three when Harris’ leadership emerged. With the Lady Trojans up 18-17, Harris made two straight plays that garnered points for her team, including a kill that sparked the 7-2 run to close the frame in favor of the visitors.
Harris’ antics continued in the fourth installment of the contest as her two points pulled the visitors within six. But with the Lady Indians in control 20-14 and threatening to send the contest to a tiebreaking set, it would be New Kent’s Julia Hathaway elevated her game. Hathaway’s tip highlighted a 7-1 run for the visitors to tie the game up at 21 apiece. Her kill for the final point of the match ended Southampton’s season at 17-6, and sends New Kent to Tabb for a rematch against a Lady Tiger team that swept them in the regular season.
After the game, Burnett spoke about the opening set and the ability for her team to rebound.
“The first game we came out and I think the band kind of put jitters in them,” she commented, mentioning the atmosphere in the tournament game. “Once we got through that, we started playing our normal game.
“My disappointment was that we missed way too many first and second serves,” Burnett continued. “I lit into them when I called one of those timeouts.”
The head coach set that once the lineup was shuffled, a new renaissance for the Lady Trojans emerged.
“I made some lineup changes and that bought some energy and excitement,” the coach said as she wrapped up the interview. “Along with the athleticism that we needed, it seemed to work and we found that winning combination.”