Pam Pack spikers showing improvement|Team still looking for first win

Published 6:11 pm Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sports Editor

Blaklee Wolfe had some monstrous kills. Erika Sullivan was diving all over the floor. Sarah Nicholls went after every ball despite playing with an injured thumb.
The effort was there for the Washington Pam Pack, but the end result was the same. South Central, one of the top teams in the Coastal Conference, picked up a 25-13, 25-10, 25-15 victory in Tuesday’s prep volleyball action.
Even though the Pack (0-9, 0-5) was kept winless on the season, Wolfe was proud of her team’s effort.
“I think we’ve done good,” said Wolfe, who led Washington with eight kills and a couple blocks. “We worked well together, even though we lost. I think that’s the best we’ve worked together.”
South Central just had too much firepower. Carolina Wainwright and Shaela Churchill uncorked a number of powerful kills to help the Falcons (10-2, 6-0) pull off the sweep.
Washington coach Tara Hunter saw glimmers of solid play, but said her team needs to play with more consistency.
“Slowly but surely, we’re gradually coming along,” Hunter said. “We came out strong in that first game. We actually had a lead, but we lost our momentum and then lost our energy and we just tanked.
“That’s our story this year — you tank part way through and you can’t recover. Then we can’t mentally get around it for the second game. We had it going there for a little while in the third game, but we just couldn’t put it through. We definitely have improved. We just have to keep chugging away.”
Nicholls said she and her teammates need to do a better job of staying confident.
“Most of us want to play really hard,” Nicholls said. “If one person messes up, our whole team gets down. We just need to work better on picking each other up.”
The Pack held a 7-5 lead early in the first game, thanks in part to kills from Sullivan and Robin Lilley. Lacie Anglim also did a nice job at the serve line, while Alex Everette dished some nice assists to the Pack’s big hitters.
The Falcons rattled off seven consecutive points to take a 14-8 lead. While Wolfe, Lilley and Jazzmin Gibbs had some solid plays at the net for Washington, South Central was able to coast to the win
South Central jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the second game. Sullivan, Wolfe and Gibbs all had kills in that game, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Racheal Toler, who played a solid all-around match, helped give the Pack an early 3-0 lead in the third game. A kill by Haley Hiatt handed Washington a 5-3 lead.
The teams were tied at 8-apiece before South Central slowly pulled away.
Hunter praised the play of her two seniors, Wolfe and Toler, along with Nicholls.
“Blaklee had some really good hits and made some really smart plays,” Hunter said. “Racheal did a really nice job, too. She made some smart decisions with tipping and where the ball needs to be. She’s always been a constant for us on the court. Sarah played well even though she hurt her thumb last week in the Conley match.”
Wolfe is taking a positive approach about the season.
“We get down on ourselves because we are losing, but I think we can get back up there,” Wolfe said. “When we play better teams, we play better. I think we’re getting better and I think our confidence is up.”
The Pack is back in action today at North Pitt in a non-conference match. Hunter is hoping her team can gain some more confidence before returning home for Thursday’s conference match against West Carteret.
“I really hope we can have continuous talking and continuous movement,” Hunter said. “I’m hoping we just play well as a team.”