Tigers escape from Bullets|Advance to third round after rallying for thrilling victory

Published 1:36 am Wednesday, October 28, 2009

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
JAMESVILLE — An epic battle ensued between Williamston and Jamesville in what may have been the last volleyball match between the two schools.
Jamesville faces possible consolidation at the end of the school year.
If it was the last, the Tigers and Bullets certainly gave the fans, packed inside cozy Jamesville High School’s gymnasium, an event to remember. After dropping the first two games, the Tigers stormed back to take a 23-25, 18-25, 25-20, 25-12, 15-4 victory in Tuesday’s second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A state playoffs.
“I think we may have taken (Jamesville) lightly at first, but I guess we saw that they could beat us,” Williamston senior setter Heather Jackson said. “After we got that first win, we got the adrenaline going.”
The Tigers will play either at Gates County (20-4) or home against SW Onslow (9-8) in Thursday’s third-round match.
Jamesville (18-2), the Tideland Conference champions who had won 14 straight heading into Tuesday’s match, used solid defense in holding off Williamston’s big boppers, Katie Paschal and Erin Bowen. However, once the big hitters for Williamston (18-3) got going, the Bullets weren’t able to slow them down.
Paschal finished with 20 kills, while Bowen smashed 17.
“Their hitters kind of warmed up and were a little more consistent at the end of the match,” Jamesville coach Carrie Jones said. “We really just couldn’t find any answer for that.
“We lost that momentum near the end of the third game, and you could just see that momentum switch.”
Coach Herbie Rogers, who led his Tigers to a Four Rivers Conference championship, said winning that third game was critical.
“We just talked about doing things fundamentally sound,” Rogers said. “There were times where we weren’t where we were supposed to be, we didn’t get down to pass the ball and we did a lot of little things that will get you beat.
“After the second game, we talked about, ‘if you want to play three (more), you have to win the first one.’ It all hinged on that one. We knew what to do. It was just a matter of executing it.”
The Tigers took an early 5-2 lead in the first game, but Holly Knott’s serving helped the Bullets grab an 8-6 advantage. Harris Shepherd’s big serving gave the Tigers a 15-10 lead, but Paige Lilley countered with eight straight points as the Bullets took a 21-16 advantage.
Williamston freshman Rachel Baker tied the match at 21 with four consecutive serves, before Jamesville was able to pull away. Sophomore Peri Ange’s tip capped the first game as the Bullets took the 1-0 lead.
Lilley and Ashley Mobley were hot from the serve line early in the second game, as the Jamesville pair led the Bullets to a 6-1 lead. Knott and Corey Ange came up with huge plays at the net as the Bullets held an 18-12 edge. The Tigers were able to pull within 19-18, but Peri Ange served up the final four points of the game for the 25-18 win.
Sophomore Paxton Copeland, inserted into the lineup midway through the game, came up with some clutch plays at the net for Jamesville, including a tip and a kill to help the Bullets take the 2-0 lead.
The teams battled closely throughout the third game. A Copeland kill helped Jamesville tie the game at 18, but freshman Jesse Ann Rogers finally put the Bullets away with the final three points of the game. A ferocious blast by Bowen capped the game, pulling the Tigers within 2-1.
Paschal took over in the fourth game. The Tiger senior gave her team a 6-1 lead thanks to five straight kills and a block. Four straight points by Jesse Ann Rogers made it 14-6. Big blows from Bowen and Paschal helped the Tigers take the 25-12 win, evening the game at 2-2.
“We got the momentum and the intensity,” said Paschal, who had eight kills alone in the fourth game. “That pretty much won it for us.
“Personally, I was just focusing on hitting it down instead of just (hitting it) hard because it seemed like I was hitting it out a lot. That seemed to work.”
Paschal had two early kills in the fifth game to set the tone as Williamston took an early 4-0 lead. Tips by Bowen and Jackson pushed the lead to 8-2. Bowen unleashed a couple more kills, while Jesse Ann Rogers capped the game with the final four points.
Jones was proud of her Bullets, who claimed the Tideland regular-season and conference tournament championships this year.
“I’m extremely proud,” Jones said. “It’s been a team effort. We don’t have those big hitters, so to play competitively with teams like Southside and Williamston, that says a lot for the character of these girls.”
Jones has to say goodbye to her four seniors in Paige Lilley, Corey Ange, Holly Knott and Haley Bowen.
“Those are four great girls,” Jones said. “They work hard and I knew going into the season that they would really step up for me.”