Second time in six days, Lady Devils take out Eastern Brown in four sets –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
The 2017 Southern Hills Athletic Conference volleyball schedule saw two of the top teams in the conference’s big division matched up with each other twice in six days. On Aug. 31, the North Adams Lady Devils, riding a long SHAC winning streak traveled to Eastern Brown and knocked off the Lady Warriors in four sets for their 55th consecutive SHAC win. On Sept. 5, the two teams met again in Seaman and the result was nearly identical as the Lady Devils rode some record-setting play by setter Sydney Kendall to another four-set win over Eastern Brown, extending the SHAC streak to now 57 matches, winning 25-18, 22-25, 25-4, 25-22.
The senior Kendall had one of the best matches of her career, setting a school record for assists in a match, racking up an impressive 60, and was also nearly unstoppable from the service line, garnering 28 service points, including 16 in a row to close out the third set of the match. After recording 20 kills in the first match up with Eastern, Charlee Louden racked up 30 this time out with teammates Avery Harper adding 14 and Abby Campton 8.
“I need to find a way to get these girls mad and fired up before we lose a set,” said North Adams head coach Katie Ragan. “We made some mistakes in that first set and then we were really flat in the second set. We seem to lose a set and then come back ready to play.”
“We have some height and we try to use it but we still need to cut down on our errors, but I will take a win. We certainly didn’t want to go to a fifth set tonight because anything can happen then.”
The first set was a back and forth affair with neither side gaining more than a three-point advantage until Lady Devil Brooklyn Stout ran off five straight serves to put the home team up 18-14. Later, Kendall began her huge service night with three straight, aided by Louden and Campton kills and North Adams used those streaks to claim a 25-18 win in the opening set.
The Lady Warriors rebounded in the second set, taking a quick 5-1 lead behind the serves of Taylor Dotson. North Adams rallied to tie the set at 6 apiece before Eastern grabbed eight of the next 10 points to open up a 14-8 advantage and force a North Adams timeout.
A nice block at the net by Mikayla Farris kept the lead steady for the Lady Warriors, who looked safe when they were up 22-16, but the home team came off the mat with five consecutive points by way of the Harper sisters, with freshman Delaney serving and senior Avery getting a pair of kills. Eastern Brown recovered, though, to take three of the set’s final four points and pull off for the second time in a week the rare feat of handing the Lady Devils a loss in a conference set, prevailing 25-22 to even the match.
That second set loss must have lit quite a fire under the North Adams girls as they took total control in the match’s third set. A trio of Campton serves and a trio of Stout serves made it 7-2 and the rout was on. With the home side up 9-4, Kendall stepped to the service line and stayed there the rest of the set, serving out 16 consecutive points, getting four Louden kills along the way as the Lady Devils rolled to an impressive 25-4 win to go up two sets to one in the match.
Now with all the momentum firmly on their side, the North Adams squad looked to close out the match and with Kendall again at the service line, took a quick 8-2 lead in the fourth set. The Lady Warriors rallied back to pull within 11-8 on another nice Farris block at the net, but again the Lady Devils began to pull away and grabbed an 18-11 advantage, before the Lady Warriors decided to make things interesting, taking six of the next seven to draw within one at 20-19.
The two sides began swapping points as the action got a bit intense, but with the soccer 23-22 in their favor, the Lady Devils got the next point when an Eastern block sailed out of bounds and then took the set and the match on a Louden kill that produced a fourth set 25-22 triumph.
The win improved North Adams to 4-1 on the season, 4-0 in the SHAC. The Lady Devils hosted Huntington Ross in non-conference play on Wednesday night, then were back in conference play on Friday, Sept. 8 when they hosted Ripley.