Serving prowess sends Lady Tide to win on Senior Night|
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
By Rich Murawski Assistant Sports Editor
CURWENSVILLE - Success at the game of volleyball starts - and sometimes ends - at the service line.
Monday night at Patton Hall, Curwensville put on a serving clinic. The Lady Tide registered a total of 53 service points with 24 coming via ace on the way to a straight-sets win over rival Clearfield on Senior Night.
The Lady Tide won by scores of 25-10, 25-8 and 25-15.
"We're coming to the time of the season when our service has to be there," Curwensville head coach Sandy Bailor said. "That's going to get us far. I'm really pleased with the way our service game has been. We've been practicing it a lot."
On the flip side of things, the Lady Bisons were having difficulty handling the Curwensville serve and passing the ball. Clearfield never really got its offense running and ended the night with just one kill as a team.
"Curwensville does a great job serving," Clearfield head coach Sarah Fye said.
"We have been preaching to the girls all year about fundamentals, and one of the top fundamentals we have worked on all year long is serve-receive and passing. If you cannot pass the ball, then everything else falls apart. And we struggled immensely with that tonight."
Leading the Lady Tide service charge was sophomore Katrina Seaburn, who jumpstarted the Curwensville offense with a seven-point service run in the first set, including four straight aces. Seaburn had 11 service points in set one alone and finished the night with 21 service points and 12 aces.
"She's been working hard on her serve," Bailor said. "She's only a sophomore, but she has a lot of aggressiveness.
"In the beginning of the year, all her serves were going long or she was hitting them in the net. But tonight she got in a groove and knew where she wanted to put the ball. This is what we need from her, because come playoff time we need those good serves."
Seaburn's run gave the Lady Tide a 10-3 lead, and she nearly closed out the set with a four-point run that made the score, 24-9.
Clearfield earned a sideout, but Curwensville finished off the set with a thunderous Taylor Thornhill kill.
Thornhill had 14 kills on the night, including six in the first set, as she and Rachel Michaels took turns swinging at the Clearfield defense. Michaels added nine kills.
"Taylor and Rachel both did a great job killing the ball, but they had to resort to a lot of dinks," Rebar said. "But when they did place the ball on the floor, they placed it well. Give credit to both of them for knowing where to go with the ball."
Lady Tide setters Audrey Thomas and Madison Peterman combined for 23 assists (14 for Thomas and nine for Peterman). And the Curwensville back line of Hannah Bressler, Abby Johnson and Ricki Wells were getting things started.
"Hannah, Abby and Ricki were making good passes," Bailor said. "I switched up a couple things and have Ricki playing back row now. She didn't know if she liked that. She said she wanted to hit, but she knew this was the job she needed to do. And that is what I need her to do.
"The girls are stepping in and doing what I'm asking them to do. They're determined and they want to do well in district playoffs."
The Lady Tide used long service runs from Thomas and Seaburn to build an 11-2 lead in set two before cruising to the victory. There were a couple long volleys in the set, but Curwensville came out on top in those exchanges.
"I like the way the girls came out and played tonight," Bailor said. "We went 5-5 at Elk County on Saturday. Sometimes we played great, and sometimes we played very slow and sloppy. Tonight was good for the girls, as it helped them understand more of what we were trying to tell them on Saturday about moving on the court.
"We had a couple long volleys tonight and we won those points. In the past we haven't been able to win those points, because we weren't moving on the court."
Rebar was pleased with her defense (Jordan Puit, Rebecca Kephart and Adrienne Stucke) as it was able to get to some Curwensville kill shots during the rallies, but the Lady Bisons were unable to take advantage of the digs.
"We did have some good digs," Rebar said. "Give credit to our defense. But when we needed to get the serve back to us or could have got the point, we didn't call the ball or we didn't make a good pass."
Clearfield took a 4-1 lead to start the final set behind a three-point service run from Michelle Payonk. But a Thornhill kill gave the Lady Tide a sideout and gave the ball to Seaburn.
Six points, including four aces, later Curwensville was ahead for good.
In addition to Seaburn's 21 service points, Curwensville had good nights at the line from seniors Thornhill (nine service points, four aces), Thomas (seven points, one ace) and Michaels (five service points, two aces).
"What can I say about the three seniors," Bailor said. "They played excellent tonight. They've done it for me for four years.
"You always say it's really hard to say goodbye to your seniors, but I told them tonight that I wasn't saying goodbye to them. We have too much to go for yet. But I think they made a nice showing in front of this nice crowd."
Payonk led Clearfield with six of her team's 11 service points, Dakota Farmery added three service points - all on aces - and had the Lady Bisons' lone kill.
Curwensville improved to 11-5 with the win. Clearfield dipped to 2-15.
Both teams are back in action today.
The Lady Bisons close out their season, playing host to Central Mountain. The Lady Tide visit Moshannon Valley.