Tigers overcome slow start to sweep Indians in section semifinals
NORTH EAST— Rising Sun started its 2A East Region Section I semifinals matchup against visiting North East slow, and found itself trailing early in the first game.
But as the first set progressed, the topseeded Tigers picked up their serving and surged ahead to capture the opening game, before cruising to pick up the 3-0 win and advance to the next round.
Rising Sun (15-0) prevailed by set scores of 25-13, 25-10 and 25-7.
“Once we started to get into the flow of the game, things got better,” Rising Sun’s Breelyn Young said. “I thought that we started to work together instead of individuals.”
The early stages of the game was a backand-forth affair that saw North East (314) score four straight points during one stretch to take an 8-6 advantage. But Grace Webb’s kill kick-started an 8-0 Tigers run that gave the host team a 14-8 lead, with Webb adding three aces during the surge.
Rising Sun continued to pull away in the first set, serving up seven aces in the second half of the game to power their strong finish.
“We started serving better, which always helps. It could have been nerves. It could have been playing a team for a third time. We just started slow,” Rising Sun head coach Rich Wilson said. “Fortunately, while our serving was off, our hitting seemed to be on. All of a sudden, you start generating energy. As we started to hit, our energy level started to pick up.”
The Tigers scored eight straight points to start the second game en route to a 25-10 win to take a 2-0 lead in the match. They controlled the third game throughout to win 25-7 and complete the sweep.
The victory sends Rising Sun into the section final, where it will host Fallston Wednesday evening. Wilson would like to see the Tigers play a more complete game against the Cougars than they did against the Indians.
“I’d like to see us play much better than any of those three games. What we’ll stress in practice is ‘Monday is over and done with. We’ll go into Wednesday and keep stepping it up.’
“That’s why I didn’t sub,” he added. “I said ‘OK, play together more. Gel together more. We had a couple of substitution patterns we didn’t use all season. Hopefully, we’ll start getting used to it and start figuring out why we start so slow. We’ve always had slow starts.”
While the loss ends North East’s season in the second round of the playoffs, there are many positives that Indians coach Rich Bowers can take from the campaign.
“The kids had chemistry for the whole season. We didn’t have a bunch of drama. The kids played well and got along well. We played well against Harford Tech the other night. That was a positive to get through the first round of the playoffs,” Bowers said. “No matter where you go, you have to go through Rising Sun.”
Rising Sun senior middle hitter Liz Zatalava goes up for the ball while a trio of North East players react during the 2A East Region Section I volleyball semifinals on Monday. The host top-seeded Tigers prevailed, 3-0.
Perryville senior Brooke Reynolds leads the Panthers into tonight’s 1A East Region Section I volleyball final at Bohemia Manor.