Tigers top­ple In­di­ans in straight sets

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL & NATIONAL SPORTS - By SEAN GROGAN sgro­gan@ce­cil­whig.com

NORTH EAST — The Ris­ing Sun vol­ley­ball team made the first set look easy. Sub­sti­tu­tions fol­lowed, which let to a sec­ond set that did not go so smoothly.

“I was very happy with the first game,” Tigers coach Rich Wil­son said. “Then I sub­sti­tuted heav­ily in the sec­ond game, so things went a lit­tle awry.”

Ris­ing Sun de­feated host North East in straight sets, 3-0, in Ch­e­sa­peake vol­ley­ball ac­tion Tues­day night. The Tigers cruised to a 25-9 win in the open­ing game, then had to come back in the sec­ond to top the In­di­ans, 25-20. North East led by as many as three points, 15-12.

Ris­ing Sun took the third set, 25-13, to earn the sweep.

“I know what the prob­lem is, but fixing it is a whole dif­fer­ent story. I wasn’t dis­pleased, at least we hung in there in the sec­ond and the third game,” In­di­ans coach Rich Bowers said. “We don’t pass well. We don’t get any swings. We scored off their bad serves and our good serves. We might’ve had two or three kills all night and that’s it. They did not serve very well in the sec­ond game at all, so we took ad­van­tage of their ser­vice er­rors and we served well that game. It wasn’t any­thing spec­tac­u­lar that we did, we took ad­van­tage of what they did.”

Macken­zie Blevins paced the Tigers with 10 kills, four aces and nine as­sists. Emily Jack­son had 12 as­sists, with eight aces and two kills, Grace Webb recorded seven kills and two digs and Sophia Eck­erd added six kills, three aces and one dig.

“Grace has been a sur­prise on the out­side, af­ter play­ing mid­dle for most of her ca­reer,” Wil­son said of Webb, who has shuf­fled po­si­tions this sea­son.

Emily Funk recorded an ace and seven digs for North East and McKayla Sch­nell added two kills and two blocks.

Wil­son spent the pre­sea­son ex­per­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent line­ups as he works to re­place four All-County play­ers lost to grad­u­a­tion. He thinks it’s all start­ing to come to­gether.

“We strug­gled through the pre­sea­son quite badly. We made some changes the Tues­day af­ter La­bor Day and that seemed to gel the team pretty well,” he said. “Pass­ing is com­ing around, hit­ting is com­ing around. We’re still not where we need to be, but we’re deal­ing with a cou­ple of in­juries.”

Fol­low Sean Grogan on Twit­ter: @Sean_Ce­cilWhig

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY SEAN GROGAN

Ris­ing Sun’s Liz Zata­lava jumps for a block Tues­day dur­ing the Tigers’ 3-0 sweep of North East in Ch­e­sa­peake vol­ley­ball ac­tion.

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