Pack wins opener

Published 9:31 pm Monday, August 15, 2011

The Washington volleyball team celebrates after beating Northside 3-2 in both team’s season opener on Monday at Washington High School. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

Under first-year head coach Kelly Slade the Washington volleyball did everything in its debut to prove that this year will be different from last year.
The Pam Pack hustled, kept their errors to a minimum, jumped out to a lead, lost that lead, but most importantly, fought back to reclaim it to take a victory over Northside in five sets.
Washington’s opening day 25-18, 25-18, 21-25, 20-25, 15-13 victory is extraordinarily significant to the team because it matches the number of wins the Pam Pack has produced in the last four years, in the team’s first contest of the 2011 season.
Slade, who officially took over the team just a week ago, said she was thrilled to start the season off on the right note.
“I’m happy for the girls, they worked hard and they played with a lot of heart,” Slade said.  “I think it shows that when you work hard and set goals, which we did in practice, that we can do anything.”
Washington (1-0, Coastal Conference 3A) came out of the gate on fire as it received strong net play from senior Robin Lilley, sophomore Megan Corey and freshman Adriana Tyson to jump out to a two game lead.
Northside (0-1, Four Rivers 1A) refused to rollover and in the next two games reclaimed the advantage at the net as the combination of Jordan Woolard, Rachel Hollowell and Caroline Slade played fantastic volleyball to allow the Panthers to pull even with the Pack.
“We have a good front line this year,” Northside coach Mandi McGaha said. “We’ve got Jordan and Rachel, and when Alexandra (Cutler) is here, along with Caroline, we pretty much always have two good hitters on the front row.”
Backing that group up was Jordan Cooke, who seemingly got to every ball hit, to help force the fifth game.
After dropping two straight, Washington found its rhythm and received some clutch plays from Corey, along with Justyce McKissick, Sydney Gurkin and Lacie Anglim to help push them over the top.
Both teams put forth a quality effort in the fifth set as they tied the score six times, but a Lilley spike broke 13-13 tie and a Corey kill cemented the team’s victory.
After the game, Slade said the effort of Lilley was vital.
“We have some great girls up on the frontcourt,” Slade said. “Robin is our senior leader, she went out there and played hard and it just showed. She set the tone for the team and her net play was fantastic today. I’m really proud of her.”
Northside will be back in action on Aug. 25 when it hosts Washington, while the Pam Pack will be back on the court today when it hosts Riverside.