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Seahawks to battle Williamston for the conference title

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
WILLIAMSTON — The Seahawks stared down elimination and lived to tell about it on Monday, as Southside clawed back from a 22-19 game four deficit to force a fifth game with Northside, were it pulled out a 15-7 win to advance to the second round of the Atlantic Conference tournament.
Fresh off their five game battle on the last day of the regular season, in which Northside won, the Seahawks exacted revenge and took a 23=25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-21, 15-7 victory.
Both teams brought their A game on Monday, as players dove all over the floor and into the stands in a match that featured more big plays than Broadway, but in the end the Seahawks captured momentum and the win.
The tide turned for Southside when it was Kristen Ayers turn to serve with the score deadlocked at 21 in the fourth game. Ayers came up clutch and nailed three straight aces and served the last four points to force a fifth game.
The Seahawks rode the momentum from their emotional win into game five, and jumped out to an early 9-3 lead when Mandi Harding blocked her second shot of the game.
Harding came up with another key block later in the match to extend Southside’s lead to 11-4.
Northside, which had played well all game long, failed to sustain a lengthy run in game five and fell 15-7.
Northside coach Tami Wagaman said the Panthers failed to focus down the stretch.
Northside (11-13, 7-8) was able to take a 2-1 lead on the strength off an exceptional team effort. Tiffany Jackson, Lauren Rodriguez, Lauren Fletcher and Ashley Beirne consistently hit the floor to scoop up Southside spikes. The Panthers also did a nice job at the net.
The Seahawks got a solid effort from their net players as well. Chelsi Chandler and Daneilya Whitney smashed rockets over the net, while Harding and Tyler Hill played aggressively on the defensive end.
Gabby Cilluffo and Resla Penn came up big as too, as the duo not only set well, but covered a lot of ground in the back court.
While the Seahawks gave a good team effort, Pruden said the play of Harding stood out on Monday.
Southside (11-12, 8-7) will move on to play Williamston in the championship round of the Atlantic Conference tournament today at 5 p.m. in Williamston.
Williamston 3, Roanoke 0
Williamston sailed into the championship round of the Atlantic Conference tournament on Monday as the No. 1 seeded Tigers topped No. 4 Roanoke 25-14, 25-13, 22-14.
The Tigers played well in all phases of the game, and after the match coach Herbie Rogers said he liked what he saw from his squad.
Rogers said his Tigers (18-2) came into the playoffs focused.
Roanoke fell behind 12-1 early in the first game, and really never recovered. Redskins coach Darryl Pittman said his team was thrown for a loop when he was told start time of the game was moved up from 5:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. However, the game did not start until roughly 5 p.m.
Once again the Tigers got a good all around effort as both the first team and second team played well.
Roanoke finished the season with a 4-19 record, and after the game Pittman said he was proud of the way his team fought hard throughout the season.
Pittman praised the play Lavasia Taylor, Shale Dolberry and Kristie Roberson throughout the year.
The Tigers will play for the conference title today at 5 p.m. at home against Southside.