Leader Blues

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

SPORTS >>JHS ladies volleyball overcome Panthers

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

The Jacksonville Lady Red Devils continue to look strong in the early season, beating Greenbrier in four games, 28-26, 23-25, 26-24 and 25-18 Monday evening at the Devils Den. The non-conference match would be the first win over Greenbrier for the Lady Red Devils seniors, who came into the match determined not to go out winless against the 5A powerhouse.

The seniors had lost to Greenbrier in both their sophomore and junior years, but pulling out the win in game three to give themselves a 2-1 lead put the Lady Panthers behind the eight ball, and gave Jacksonville a determination in the final game that would carry them from a 12-8 deficit to a 14-14 tie before eventually pulling out the win by seven points to claim the 3-1 decision.

“I can’t be any more proud of them,” Lady Devils coach Melissa Reeves said. “We’re still having a few problems with our work ethic and our attitude, but we’re getting there, and the kids that want to be there, that want to play and put out their best effort – you saw them on the floor tonight. Before that last game, I told them ‘this is your chance.’ If it would have went to five (games), then who knows, but they showed they were ready to play on their home court.”

Greenbrier took early control in each game, only to watch Jacksonville rally each time to take control of the game by the mid-way point. The Lady Devils only had to worry about one major weapon for the young Greenbrier squad in hitter Tarron Henry, but she would be enough to cause a threat both at the net and the service line.

Henry’s low-clearance serves caused problems for Jacksonville, particularly in the opening moments of game two, when she rolled off six straight points for the Lady Panthers. The game-two win for Greenbrier denied the Lady Devils of a sweep, but the mood after the game made it clear that Jacksonville was in no way concerned about giving up a game. After losing to the Lady Panthers their sophomore and junior years, there was little sympathy for Greenbrier from the Lady Devil seniors.

“Payback is a you-know-what,” senior hitter Jennifer? Brown said after the game. “I am so proud of the team. We work as a team; we try to pick each other up if someone gets down. We did pretty good out there today.”

Brown would prove to be too hard for Greenbrier to contain at the net. Brown took control in game four, with three kills and two blocks after sitting out the first half of the game to rest. Brown’s entry into the game in the middle of the final game put momentum on Jacksonville’s side, and seemed to put the Lady Panthers in surrender mode. The Devils took nine of the final 12 points to claim game four and assure the win.

While Brown’s performance was to be expected, it was the back row play of NO 19 and the setting skills of NO 7 that also made a big part of the win. NO 19 had a number of good saves and difficult digs to keep the ball active, particularly when Henry stood at the serve line for Greenbrier. Her injured foot gave her a bit of trouble in the late going, but she played through to finish the contest. NO 7’s setting was best in the final game, when she set up Brown for the kill on three occasions.

The Lady Red Devils are now 3-1, and played ?? last night at home after Leader deadlines.