Washington fights hard in loss|Pam Pack falls to Knights in three

Published 12:26 pm Wednesday, August 25, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
It may not have been the result Washington volleyball coach Tara Hunter wanted, but her team showed the improvement that she was looking for during the Pam Pack’s 25-19, 25-12, 25-23 loss to Riverside on Tuesday.
Washington is in the midst of a lengthy losing streak that reaches back over two seasons, but this year the team has shown improvement in each of its first three games.
In the past, lack of communication was one of the team’s biggest area of concerns, but on Tuesday the team was much more verbal and enthusiastic.
The Pam Pack players didn’t hesitate to hit the floor for a ball or to run and chase one down, and the hope is that if the team continues to put forth the effort eventually it will pay off in the form of a win.
Washington started the 2010 season on the road against Riverside and was swept in the season opener. However, on Tuesday the Pam Pack made the Knights work for it.
“We have improved a lot since we played them last week and I think that is one of the big things to take away from here,” Hunter said. “We played hard, our communication still isn’t where we want it to be but we have several good things going for us. I think we are starting to finally click.”
In the first game, Washington hung with Riverside and tied the score at 16 midway through the match. However, some hot serving by Madison Brandon helped the Knights take a 19-16 lead as they out-scored Washington 9-3 down the stretch.
Riverside rolled in the second game, and this time it was Karly Stevens who dished out some good serves. Stevens put the match out of reach late when she nailed four aces, with the last one giving the team a 24-12 advantage.
Washington saved its best effort for last. The Pam Pack stayed within three points of the Knights for most of the match and after a Robin Lilley ace Washington was even with Riverside at 17-all. Once again, the Knights just seemed to have more gas in the tank as they pulled out a 25-23 win to seal the match and the game.
After the game Riverside coach Herbie Rogers, whose team improved to 5-0, tipped his cap to the Pam Pack.
“I think you really have to take your hats off for Washington,” Rogers said. “We have scrimmaged them twice in the summer then played them in the opener and I can really tell the difference; they are a lot better.”
Rogers said the key to victory was his team’s serving.
“I thought at times we did a really good job of serving and hitting our spots which is something we need to do,” Rogers said. “When we serve our spots it makes a big difference.”
Karley Stevens led the Knights with 13 service points, while Brandon had 12 to go along with her four kills.
The Pam Pack (0-3) got a strong performance up front from Robin Lilley, who played for the first time as the team’s middle hitter, as well as Haley Hiatt, Sydney Gurkin, Michelle Hodges and Sarah Nichols.
Hunter said she was pleased with the team’s improved passing.
“We have really worked on our passing and setting target spots,” Hunter said. “We still have to work on keeping the right distance away from the net but our passes have really improved.”
The Knights’ JV team also picked up a win as it topped Washington 25-22, 18-25, 25-14. Kasey Hall placed the Knights with 25 service points.
The Pam Pack will be back in action on Thursday when they host Northside, while the Knights will host Edenton.