Tigers over­come slow start to sweep In­di­ans in sec­tion semi­fi­nals

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By KEVIN PHILLIPS Spe­cial to the Whig

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.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY KEVIN PHILLIPS

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.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Per­ryville se­nior Brooke Reynolds leads the Pan­thers into tonight’s 1A East Re­gion Sec­tion I volleyball fi­nal at Bo­hemia Manor.

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