Seahawks squander early lead|Fall to the Pirates in five games

Published 4:26 pm Wednesday, September 15, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
CHOCOWINITY — The Seahawks played some of their best volleyball of the year against Perquimans on Tuesday, but they could not keep sustain their strong play in long enough stretches to leg out a win against their Four Rivers Conference foe.
After winning the first two games, Southside dropped the next two and eventually fell in the fifth and final game, losing the match 18-25, 24-26, 25-17, 25-22, 15-12.
Each game was played with extreme intensity on both sides and took on a playoff-type atmosphere as Southside (4-9, 1-3) clashed with Perquimans, whose 5-3 (4-0) record has it sitting in first place.
The Seahawks battled hard on Tuesday, and if a bounce or two had gone their way they could have walked out of the gym with a sweep. However, Perquimans, the 2009 conference champs, came up with big plays every time they needed them.
The Pirates, led by middle hitter Becky Martin and libero Rachel Phthisic, whom Southside coach Elizabeth Pruden called the best in the conference, excelled at the fundamental aspects of the game, while the young Seahawks showed there is still some room for improvement.
“(The biggest difference) was our serves,” Pruden said. “I don’t think Perquimans missed a single serve. We have been working on it and I guess we just got nervous. We had girls miss serves who have never missed serves before ever.”
Southside was guided by Renikia Hodges, Marlin Edwards, Macy Paramore and Valerie Ruffin up front, while Sondra Sparks and Katie Jones played well in the back. Libero Marlin Edwards had a tremendous game and seemingly got to every ball hit her way.
That group’s ability to play on together helped lift Southside to a two game lead.
“We were consistent, we were not hesitating at all, but towards the end we starting pulling out hits and starting tipping the ball over more because I think they were scared they were going to hit it out,” Pruden said.
The Seahawks’ best chance to close out the Pirates came in the fourth game when they were within a point or two of Perquimans all the way down to the stretch but could never catch up.
In the fifth and final game, the Pirates jumped out to a tremendous lead and looked as if they were going to run away with the match as they took a commanding 9-3 advantage. However, Southside was not ready to roll over and went on a 9-3 run of its own to tie the score at 12 and force a Perquimans timeout.
From that point on the Pirates scored the final three points of the game to take the match.
Pruden said she was impressed with her team’s mental toughness and ability to climb out of a six-point hole in OT.
“It was definitely more than I have ever seen because we have been in that situation before and we got completely blown out of the water,” Pruden said. “So, it’s good to see them fight back. We have been working on our mental toughness and it’s good to see that, that has really picked up a lot.”
The Seahawks will look to rebound on Thursday at South Creek.