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Eagle net girls win first round of county battle



SKennvolleyball
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KAITLIN TAYLOR goes up for a kill against Kingswood on Sept. 8. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
September 13, 2010
NORTH CONWAY — Last season, the Kennett volleyball team learned how to win. That's something that Kingswood coach Mike Christy is hoping his girls learn how to do this season.

The Eagles were able to take the first meeting of the season between the two teams on Wednesday, Sept. 8, recording a 3-1 victory.

"We have to figure it out, and hopefully soon," said Kingswood coach Mike Christy.

"It's good that we can hold on and close it out," said Kennett coach Jocelyn Judge.

The first game was the game that featured the largest point difference, as the Eagles took a 25-16 win.

The teams played back and forth to open the game, with Kendall Donaldson earning a key point for Kennett and Brittney Newlin doing the same for Kingswood, but a pair of Casey Blakely aces pushed the Eagles to a 7-3 lead.

Kingswood rallied back and a Newlin ace tied the game at seven and a great volley ended with Kelsey Libby tipping in a great shot to give the Knights the 8-7 lead. Good hustle from Catie Howard got Kennett back even and the Eagles pulled ahead with a solid run, keyed by a nice play at the net from Christine Malchiodi and an ace from Alyssa Chick. With the run, the Eagles took a 14-8 lead. Kingswood rallied a bit, but couldn't close the gap to closer than 15-11 before the Eagles went on a solid run with Kaitlin Taylor providing solid net play and Tori Burns netting an ace.

Ellen Dunn got an ace for the Knights to pull them a bit closer, but an ace and a great dig from Blakely helped to pull Kennett ahead for the 25-16 win.

The second game started out with the Knights in complete control, as they won the first five points, with Libby netting two aces and Newlin getting a nice tip at the net. After Kennett got its first point, Dunn followed with a good hit and Jenna Sharrow recorded an ace, stretching the Kingswood lead to 7-1. A kill and two aces from Taylor pulled the Eagles back to within three at 7-4, but another nice play by Dunn kept Kingswood up by four. After another Kennett point, Newlin and Felicia Wilbur combined for a good point for the Knights and they stretched the lead behind an ace from Newlin and a nice tip from Taylor Benjamin, giving them a 12-5 lead.

Chick then rallied the Eagles, as she netted three aces and recorded another point for the hosts, cutting the lead to 12-10 before Kingswood got back on track. An ace from Benjamin upped the Kingswood lead to 14-10, but a good play from Burns and another from Taylor kept the Eagles close.

A Newlin kill made it 17-12 in favor of Kingswood, but Burns stepped to the serving line and netted three aces and got some help at the net from Taylor, allowing the Eagles to come all the way back for an 18-17 lead.

The two teams battled back and forth over the next few points, with Charlotte Kennett earning an ace for the Eagles and Malchiodi playing well at the net to push the lead to 2r-19 in favor of Kennett. However, Benjamin and Wilbur helped the Knights close the gap to 24-21, but the Eagles got the final point and took the 2-0 lead with a 25-21 win.

The third game went to Kennett in the early going, as Taylor was strong at the net and at the service line, netting three aces for the Eagles to push the lead to 6-2. A nice play from Newlin and an ace from Tyrra Demeritt helped the Knights pull closer and an ace from Newlin and a strong play from Libby allowed Kingswood to take a 9-8 lead.

Burns pulled Kennett even, but the Knights pulled back ahead, with an ace from Wilbur helping the cause. Burns and Blakely pulled the Eagles back ahead and the two teams battled back and forth, with Taylor netting two more aces to give Kennett a 17-15 lead. An ace from Demeritt put Kingswood back on top at 18-17 and a nice hit from Newlin kept them there. Tasha Jost made a nice play for the Eagles to tie the game at 19, but the Knights went on a solid run, keyed by an ace from Benjamin, and walked off with the 25-22 win to cut the lead to 2-1.

The fourth game went to the Eagles early, as Taylor had a couple of big plays at the net, but Sharrow and Newlin kept the Knights in it. An ace from Demeritt brought the Knights to the lead at 5-4, but the Eagles fought back and an eventual ace from Blakely gave them a 7-5 lead. Newlin and Wilbur helped bring Kingswood back to the lead and the lead reached 11-8 before Taylor had a big block and another point to tie the match at 11. Donaldson netted an ace to give Kennett the 13-12 lead, but Kingswood held tough. The Eagles couldn't stretch the lead to more than three, taking a 17-14 lead on a Taylor ace.

The Knights fought to tie the game at 17, but a play from Blakely put Kennett back in front. Libby was able to tie the game for Kingswood at 20 and the Knights took a 21-20 lead in their bid to keep the match going, but the Eagles got two aces from Jost and a solid play at the net from Blakely to take the 25-22 win.

"We still play a little timid," Christy said. "We're scared to lose and when that happens, you scare yourself into a loss.

"We have to learn to be aggressive on all points, not just service points," he continued. "That will come with every day of practice."

"The whole thing was coming down to serving and both teams were missing serves," Judge said. "If we're good (on serves), we're very good."

She noted she was pleased to be able to work much of her bench into the game for some significant playing time and they all made contributions.

"We have two objectives, to win and to build our program," she said. "Tonight we got both of those objectives."

She also praised Kingswood for the improvement the team's shown in the early part of the season.

The Knights dropped a 3-0 decision at Plymouth on Friday, Sept. 10, and the Eagles fell by the same score to Gilford the same night.

Kingswood will be back in action on Friday, Sept. 17, for a home game with Gilford at 6 p.m.

Kennett will take the court against Bedford on Friday, Sept. 17, and again with Coe-Brown on Monday, Sept. 20. Both home games start at 5 p.m. with JV and 6 p.m. for varsity.

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