Practice pays off for Seahawks|Southside tops rival Northside in four sets

Published 8:01 pm Friday, September 25, 2009

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
CHOCOWINITY — Some grueling practices and a little lineup tinkering seemed to get Southside back on track Thursday as the Seahawks bounced back from a 3-0 loss to Williamston earlier in the week with a 3-1 win over rival Northside.
Southside (10-4, 3-3) opened up with a 25-15 victory over the Panthers , then fell 25-19 in the second set. The Seahawks refused to let the game slip away from them as they took the next two sets 25-12, 25-15 to pick up a Four Rivers Conference victory.
“We played a lot better than we have been earlier in the season,” Southside coach Elizabeth Pruden said. “We came out ready to play today. We changed some things around and had some different attitudes.”
The Seahawks ran through some hard practices this week and it showed, as they came out and topped Northside in an intense four-set game.
“We had a tough practice yesterday,” Pruden said. “I went through a lot of different lineups to see what was going to work. At one time I moved Atyana (Starkie) from middle hitter to outside hitter. I switched her for about a game and I thought it went well.”
Along with Starkie, the Seahawks got a strong effort from Renikia Hodges and Valerie Ruffin up front. The trio provided a strong presence at the net, and produced several clutch points.
The Panthers countered with some strong net play of their own, as Whitney Lewis, Savannah Boyd, Rachel Hollowell and Jordan Woolard sparkled up front. However the quality play only came in spurts, as Northside has not been able to play up to its abilities since it topped a tough Manteo team two weeks ago.
“We just couldn’t hit well. I don’t know, I just haven’t seen the team I saw against Manteo since that game,” Northside coach Tammi Wagaman said. “If we played like that we would be winning ball games, we’re just not playing like that.”
While a young Northside showed flashes of brilliance, its biggest problem was inconsistency and self-inflicted mistakes.
“At the crucial times (Southside) limited their mistakes and would get a run going,” Wagaman said. “We have a young team, and I no that’s not an excuse, but sometimes you get those freshmen and sophomore tendencies.”
Southside, which features more of a veteran team, exhibited senior leadership and savvy as it demonstrated the ability to close out games.
Tied at 12 in the first set, the Seahawks pieced together a 13-13 run to ride out to a 25-15 victory. During that span Southside got pivotal points at the net from Hodges, and key aces from Starkie.
The Panthers anteed up in the second set and after a Lewis ace took an 11-4 lead. The Seahawks rallied back to cut the deficit to 11-9, but Northside’s Jordan Woolard took away the Hawks momentum with back-to-back kills en rout to a 25-19 win.
In the third set, Southside once again showed composure when it as used a 12-3 run to turn a 9-7 lead into a 21-10 advantage and a 25-12 win.
The fourth and final set followed the same trend as the third, as the Seahawks turned a 4-4 tie into a 13-6 lead with a 9-2 rally that blew the game wide open.
Southside will look to keep its momentum going on Tuesday when it hosts Camden, while Northside will look to bounce back Tuesday at Plymouth.