Ea­gles soar to Re­gion Fi­nal

Dorchester Star - - Front Page - By DUSTIN HOLT dholt@ches­pub.com

SHILOH — North Dorch­ester high’s vol­ley­ball team earned the school’s first-ever trip to the vol­ley­ball 1A East Re­gion Fi­nals with a four-set vic­tory over Colonel Richard­son Wed­nes­day, Nov. 9.

The Ea­gles im­proved to 11-6 on the sea­son with the 25-16, 24-26, 25-21, 25-20 vic­tory, and will visit Per­ryville on Fri­day in the re­gional fi­nal for a chance to make the state fi­nal four.

“It is just an awe­some feel­ing be­ing able to come from a brand new pro­gram three years ago to sec­tional cham­pi­ons,” said North Dorch­ester head coach Carol Hub­bard. “It is just amaz­ing.

“I’m so proud of these girls for how hard they have worked and the suc­cess they have brought to the team and the school this sea­son,” she added. “It was a tough match against a great Colonel

Richard­son team, but the girls con­tin­ued to bat­tle, kept pos­i­tive and got a huge win tonight.”

The Ea­gles trailed Colonel 10-3 early in the first set, but went on a 22-6 run to win the set. Ge­orgie Turner and Jenna Usil­ton had three aces a piece dur­ing the first set.

In the sec­ond set, North Dorch­ester led 24-18, but the Colonels ral­lied be­hind the serve of Rachel Jessee for a come-from-be­hind 2624 win to even the match at 1-1.

The Ea­gles notched a win in the third set with kills from Sa­vanna Nos­sick, Mya­sia Jones and Kathryn Allen.

North Dorch­ester trailed 9-2 in the fourth set, but be­gan to chip away be­hind the serve of Leann As­plen. A kill by Nos­sick tied the score at 10-10. Nos­sick capped a four-point run with a kill to make it 21-16 for the Ea­gles. Brooke Hard­ing ended the match with a strong spike to send North Dorch­ester to the re­gion fi­nal.

The Ea­gles earned the pro­gram’s first-ever play­off vic­tory Mon­day by beat­ing 2015 1A East Re­gion fi­nal­ist Po­comoke in four sets, 2520, 25-10, 25-27, 25-16.

“It feels great to get that first vol­ley­ball play­off win for the school, and this pro­gram,” Hub­bard said after Mon­day’s win. “This is only our third sea­son, and we have im­proved tremen­dously each year.

Jones led the Ea­gles with 10 kills Mon­day, and nine of her team­mates added at least one kill each. Turner recorded a team-high seven aces with As­plen adding five aces and Usil­ton notch­ing four.

The Ea­gles trailed 5-1 in the first set, but As­plen fired four straight aces to give North Dorch­ester a 6-5 lead. The Ea­gles and War­riors traded points up to the Ea­gles lead­ing 14-13. North Dorch­ester then went on a 5-1 run for a 19-14 bulge, with Jones record­ing two kills and Usil­ton adding two aces.

Po­comoke closed to 22-20, but the Ea­gles net­ted the fi­nal three points, in­clud­ing kills from Turner and Jones to win the first set.

North Dorch­ester dom­i­nated the sec­ond set, jump­ing to a 13-6 lead. The Ea­gles then scored 13 of the fi­nal 17 points to go ahead 2-0 in the match.

Hub­bard cred­ited As­plen, Jones and Turner for con­trol­ling the tempo in the Ea­gles’ fa­vor.

“For be­ing prob­a­bly the short­est per­son on the court, Leann has played huge, es­pe­cially at the net,” Hub­bard said. “I think a lot of peo­ple prob­a­bly look at her and take her for grant- ed, but she gets up there against those big girls.

“She has beau­ti­ful sets, and is smart about where she places the ball,” Hub­bard added. “Her and Mya­sia worked so well to­gether tonight. Leann made many sets for Mya­sia, and Mya­sia de­liv­ered for big kills.

“Leann and Ge­orgie did a great job of con­trol­ling the pace of the game,” Hub­bard con­tin­ued. “Ge­orgie is just a good, all-around player. We have used her as a set­ter ev­ery year. She does fab­u­lous on the back row.”

In the third set, Po­comoke went up 17-11, but the Ea­gles chipped away at the deficit. Three kills by Jones from As­plen, and an ace by Tali­cia El­liott gave north Dorch­ester an 18-17 lead.

The War­riors fought back and went up 22-20. The Ea­gles tied the score at 22-22 with a kill by Turner and an ace by Jones. Fac­ing elim­i­na­tion, Po­comoke tied the score at 25-25 on match point, then added two more points to take the third set, 27-25.

The Ea­gles did not let the lost set bring them down, and they took con­trol early in the fourth.

Lead­ing 10-8, the Ea­gles went on a 15-8 run to close out the match. Dur­ing the flour­ish, Lind­sey Bradley, Kathryn Allen added a kill a piece, and Usil­ton and Brooke Hard­ing scored two aces each.

“The big­gest dif­fer­ence this year has been the girls’ at­ti­tudes,” Hub­bard said. “They do not give up, no mat­ter the sit­u­a­tion, on a sin­gle match, on a sin­gle game or on a sin­gle point.

“I’m re­ally lucky to have a team of girls that are just good ath­letes that are not nec­es­sary a one-po­si­tion player,” Hub­bard added. “I have a lot of girls that can play all around the court. That gives me flex­i­bil­ity.”

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

North Dorch­ester’s Brooke Hard­ing serves against Colonel Richard­son dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s play­off vic­tory by the Ea­gles. Hard­ing scored the win­ning point to end the match.

PHOTOS BY DUSTIN HOLT

North Dorch­ester’s Mya­sia Jones spikes the ball for a point against Colonel Richard­son dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s play­off vic­tory by the Ea­gles.

North Dorch­ester’s Ge­orgie Turner sets the ball for a team­mate against Colonel Richard­son dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s play­off vic­tory by the Ea­gles.

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