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Seahawks spoil Wagamam’s return to Southside

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
CHOCOWINITY — After eight years of employment at Southside High School, Tami Wagaman found herself in an awkward position on Tuesday.
The former Seahawks’ volleyball skipper made her first trip back to her old stamping ground and was now devising strategies from the visitors’ side of the court as her Northside Panthers took on the Seahawks in Chocowinity.
Wagaman, last year’s WDN volleyball coach of the year, must have wished she hand’t trained her former players so well as the Seahawks topped their former mentor 25-10, 22-25, 25-17, 26-24.
The Seahawks jumped out to an early 15-9 lead in the first game and never looked back, going on a 10-1 run to close out the game.
Southside had a clear advantage at the net, as Daneilya Whitney, Chelsi Chandler, Mandi Harding and Tyler Hill did a good job of blocking shots and getting kills.
Whitney and Chandler did most of the damage throughout the match as the Panthers had no answer for the duo’s height and athleticism.
The Panthers clawed back in the second game and behind the smooth serving of Lauren Rodriguez sailed to an 8-1 lead.
Rodriguez was able to get a lot of movement on her serves, and nailed six straight service points, with four of them coming on aces.
Sporting a short team, Wagaman said it’s crucial to get points on serves.
Southside wasn’t ready to concede the game and after Kristen Ayers nailed back-to-back aces, the Seahawks took a 12-11 advantage.
The two team’s battled neck-and-neck for the rest of the game, but the Panthers took the lead for good behind strong serving. Ashley Kirk closed out the game for Northside with two straight aces to tie the match at one piece.
Southside bounced back from its game two loss with a 25-17 win in the third game. After a Lauren Fletcher ace knotted the game at nine all, Southside ripped off a 16-8 run.
Pruden said that along with good net play, her team’s attitude was the biggest difference in the match.
While the Seahawks’ net game was inconsistent during the second game, it was back on track by the end of the third as Chandler make critical plays up front to down the Panthers.
The fourth game was the closest of the night, as neither team held a lead larger than five points. Once again Northside jumped out to an early lead, but this time it could not hold on to it.
Down 10-5, Southside stormed back and took a 14-13 lead when Gabby Cilluffo served up an ace.
The Panthers’ Tiffany Jackson came up with some strong serving of her own, and her two consecutive aces game her team a 20-17 lead.
In the end it came down to net play. Hill smashed two straight kills to cut the Panthers’ lead to 22-21. Southside tied Northside on a Harding ace, than took the lead when on a Whitney spike.
Northside crept back in the match when two consecutive Southside unforced errors tied the score at 25, but back-to-back kills by Whitney and Chandler sealed the deal.
After the game Wagaman said she thought her team might have been pressing a little too hard to try and win the game for her.
Wagaman also admitted that her eyes wandered to her former players during the match.