Knights crowned sectional champs|Beat Perquimans in three games

Published 2:22 am Sunday, October 31, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES,, Sports Writer
WILLIAMSTON — On the eve of Halloween the Riverside volleyball team looked scary-good as it spiked Four Rivers Conference nemesis Perquimans 25-20, 25-20, 25-20 to win the first ever sectional championship in the newly-formed school’s history on Saturday.
These two teams split their regular season meetings with each winning at its home as the Pirates topped the Knights the first time around and Riverside got its revenge in the rematch.
On Saturday, Riverside (21-2) entered the rubber match with a No. 1 seed and home court advantage as it took on second-seeded Perquimans (18-5) in their Sectional Round clash.
After going the full five games against Camden in the District Round of the NCHSAA 1-A playoffs, the Knights pieced together three games of near flawless volleyball to advance to the East Regional Round of where they will meet No. 1 Pender (28-2, Tri-County Conference) on the road Tuesday.
“We’re excited, this group of girls have never been this far and to get an opportunity to play in the eastern finals is a big deal to us and our program,” said Herbie Rogers, who has won one other sectional championship when he was coaching at Williamston High School in 2003. “
The Knights played like a well disciplined machine as they seamed to be everywhere they were supposed to be all match long and never gave up on a play.
Perquimans attacked behind a solid effort by its net players, but Riverside answered with outstanding performances by Meredith Robertson, Rachel Baker, Karley Stevens, Madison Brandon, Jessie Anne Rogers and Paxton Copeland.
Baker paced the Knights with a team-high 10 kills, while adding 10 service points, with four of them being aces.
Robertson, the team’s lone senior, led the team with eight blocks, while tallying four kills. Copeland and Brandon each posted six kills.
Stevens dished out a team-high 11 service points (five aces), while hitting the floor for a team-best eight digs. Alexis Ange was right behind her with seven digs, while Rogers came up with six digs and two blocks.
In the second game the Knights found themselves down 16-12, but Stevens took the ball and led the team on a 7-0 run which included four aces and a key Baker block. By the end of the run Riverside held a 20-16 lead and never looked back.
“Volleyball is all bout runs,” Rogers said. “They had made a run on us to take a big lead but we were able get back and get a run on top of their run and that was big.”
Herbie Rogers said the team’s serving played a critical role in beating the Pirates.
“We did a really good job of aggressive serving,” Rogers said. “Our girls really did a good job of hitting. We talked about doing some different things with our serving and our girls really executed.”
Whenever two good teams meet up the team that makes the least amount of errors usually moves on. On Saturday, the Knights made very few mistakes.
“I thought we did a good job of not beating ourselves,” Rogers said. “I thought our block defense was really good. We had a lot more blocks today then we had the first two games.”