09/12/18 — PREP VOLLEYBALL: Eagles knock off visiting Falcons

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PREP VOLLEYBALL: Eagles knock off visiting Falcons

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 12, 2018 5:51 AM



Push through and play with confidence was the outside perspective given by first-year Wayne Christian head volleyball coach Jessica Rowe on Tuesday afternoon.

The players offered an inside perspective -- communicate.

Each viewpoint carried its own merit, particularly late in the second set when Wayne Christian trailed 24-17 and rallied to win 26-24.

The Eagles had to regain their composure a second time, and triumphed 25-12, 26-24, 25-22 triumph over Friendship Christian Academy at Clifford Gymnasium.

"I'm very much pleased that they recovered the way they did," Rowe said. "They pushed through. Their confidence got down at some point, but they were able to bring it back up and get through the rest of the game."

The Eagles dominated the first set, but couldn't establish the same tempo in set two.

Friendship Christian ran its offense with a little more precision and excelled at the service line. Seana Faulk served an ace, the first of six by the Falcons in the set, to give her team a 10-9 lead.

The Coastal Plains Independent 1-A/2-A Conference rivals battled to ties at 11-11, 13-13 and 15-15 before Wayne Christian fell out of synch offensively and allowed FCA to flourish in transition. Abby Lee served three aces during a commanding 9-2 run, and the Falcons climbed to within a single point -- 24-17 -- of leveling the best-of-five encounter at 1-all.

"I just told them not to let them get into your head," Rowe said. "I said 'You are just as good, if not better and y'all can get through this set and get through this low confidence. You need to bring your confidence up.'

"At some point, they've got to figure out communication and also figure out that they themselves have what it takes [to win], too."

The Eagles absorbed Rowe's self-belief.

A seven-point deficit quickly dwindled behind FCA miscues and kills by Leah Boswell off of assists from Adelyn Worling. Boswell smacked an overpass back into the Falcons' court to cap the phenomenal second-set comeback.

"Credit to them, they played error-free volleyball for seven points which isn't easy to do," FCA head coach Evan Brondyke said. "We had a couple of points that we could have finished, we just didn't get good swings on it. They made us pay. It is what it is.

"I thought we bounced back well in the third set."

Friendship, ironically, seized its final lead at 10-9 on Lee's sixth -- and final -- ace of the night in set three.

Wayne Christian (3-4 overall, 1-0 CPIC) forged a 10-10 tie and moved in front to stay on Boswell's solo block against outside hitter Jael Delphonse. Worling blocked an off-speed hit by Delphonse, and the Eagles soared from there.

The Eagles' advantage swelled to 17-11 on Worling's kill after teammate Sarah Vinson dug up Delphonse's monster kill attempt to the left back corner. The Falcons (2-7, 1-2) shaved the deficit to 17-13, but could get no closer the remainder of the match.

"We dropped that first set ... were just sluggish," Brondyke said. "I thought the next two sets were good. We're just working on consistency, playing at the same level at all times. It was fun, a good match.

"I'm glad we get to play them again."