KINGSWOOD’S Emily Jewett and Allie Campbell (left) go up against Kennett’s Charlotte Kennett during action Sept. 10. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
September 17, 2012NORTH CONWAY — After dropping their home opener on Friday, Sept. 7, the Kingswood volleyball girls were certainly hungry going into their match in North Conway against Kennett on Monday, Sept. 10.
The Eagles, coming off games against some of the top teams in Division II, were equally hungry, looking to get on the winning side of the scoreboard for the first time.
When the dust settled on the Kennett gym, the visiting Knights were walking off with the 3-0 win.
"They came back, they were working at it," said Kennett coach Danielle Shuler. "It's nice when we can be competitive the whole way."
Kingswood coach Mike Christy noted his team kind of backed off a bit in the third game, allowing the Eagles to close the gap late.
"We got a little lackadaisical on defense," Christy said. "I told them they can't take plays off.
"They thought they had it wrapped up before it was over," he continued.
The Knight coach was quick to point out that learning to put teams away is all part of learning to win, something he's been working hard to instill in his girls.
'It's a learning experience," he said. "That's what we have to do to learn to win."
Out of the gate, things were fairly even, though Kingswood's Autumn Wilber netted an ace on the first serve of the night. Emily Rumery got the Knights the second point, despite a nice play from Kennett's Jordan Dicey, but Charlotte Kennett got the Eagles on the board on the next play. The two teams went back and forth, with Dicey getting an ace to even the score at four and then notching another for a 5-4 lead for the Eagles. However, Rumery got Kingswood even again and the Knights never looked back.
Rumery went on a good service run, notching a number of aces as the Knights opened the lead from 8-6 to 17-6. Wilber and Allie Campbell also chipped in with good play at the net.
Kennett was finally able to break Rumery's serve and get back on the board, but Jamie Mensch stepped to the service line and netted three aces of her own to help the Knights pull away. Wilber chipped in with a good play at the net and the Knights took a 25-11 win in the first game.
Kennett's Aidan Merrill got her team off to a good start in the second game, getting back-to-back aces to open the game, but Kingswood came right back and the two teams went back and forth early. Kimmi Adjutant netted a pair of aces for the Knights to give them a slight lead, but Kennett fought back to tie the game at seven.
However, more strong serving from Rumery helped the Knights to pull ahead by a 14-7 score, before Charlotte Kennett made a nice play at the net and followed it up with an ace to get the Eagles back on the scoring sheet.
Campbell and Mensch chipped in aces again as the Knights opened up another lead, with Wilber and Rumery getting big hits at the net. Kennett hung tough, but Rumery, Campbell and Emily Jewett finished off the game with strong play at the net and Kingswood took the 25-14 win.
Wilber was solid from the service line to start the third game, getting four points in a row on three aces. Kennett closed the gap, with Dicey making a couple of strong plays at the net, cutting the lead to 6-5, but Rumery and Campbell combined for a nice play at the net to open the lead back to two. Rumery added a couple more aces and teamed with Casey Sargent for strong plays to help the Knights open the lead to 11-5.
Merrill had a nice play to get Kennett back on the board, but Jewett answered on the other side. Cadie Camille came right back for Kennett for another goal, but a couple of nice plays from Sargent, including a great tip at the net, helped Kingswood stretch the lead. Wilber chipped in another ace as the lead increased to 17-8.
After Kayla Kennett recorded an ace for the Eagles, the two teams went back and forth, with Rumery and Camille getting solid kills and Kennett's Rachelle Cormier and Kingswood's Jewett getting nice tips at the net. Cormier also turned in a solid block as the Eagles fought back. Camille and Kayla Kennett continued the charge for Kingswood, cutting the lead to 18-24, but Kingswood was able to close out the 25-18 win.
"We can be more prepared going to Kingswood on their court," Shuler said, noting her team picked up on things to work on moving forward.
The first-year coach praised the work of Cobie Chin, who has improved her serving a lot since the start of the year.
She also noted the friendly rivalry between the two teams was great.
"A lot of these girls play together (in JOs), so they have fun with each other," the first-year coach stated.
"We're doing the right things and making progress every day," Christy said. "I am happy with the progress."
The Knight coach noted that Rumery was solid from the service line, which was a nice improvement for her after struggling in the previous game.
"She's really stepping it up," he said. "That was a great confidence booster for her."
Christy noted that the JV and freshmen programs continue to be undefeated, which is a great sign as the Knights move forward.
After dropping a 3-0 decision to Gilford on Wednesday, Sept. 12, the Knights hosted a strong Somersworth team on Friday, Sept. 14, and had a great game, despite dropping a 3-1 decision.
The first game went to the 'Toppers by a 26-24 score, but Kingswood bounced back for a 25-23 win in game two. Somersworth prevailed 26-24 in the third game and 25-21 in the fourth game to seal the win.
"It was a clean game, hard fought by both teams," Christy said. "There were a lot of big hits and a lot of big digs."
The Knight coach noted he was pleased with the way the girls played.
"I am so proud of what they're doing," Christy said. "They're making it fun to come to the gym every day.
"These games are going to turn to wins pretty soon," he added.
The Eagles dropped a 3-0 decision to Laconia on Wednesday, Sept. 12, and a 3-0 decision to Portsmouth on Friday, Sept. 14.
The Knights will be in action again on Friday, Sept. 21, at Fall Mountain. On Monday, Sept. 24, the girls will be at Manchester West, with varsity starts at 6 p.m. for both games.
The Eagles will be in action on Friday, Sept. 21, at home against Oyster River and on Monday, Sept. 24, against Coe-Brown. On Thursday, Sept. 27, the girls host Plymouth, with all games at 6 p.m. varsity starts.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 569-3126