Washington sweeps Southside in first encounter

Published 9:09 pm Thursday, August 17, 2017

CHOCOWINITY — After winning the first set at Southside (0-1), 25-12, Washington (2-1) was able to hold off rallying attempts to sweep the Lady Seahawks on Thursday night. The Lady Pack has now won two in a row after being swept at Riverside to open the season.

Southside kept even — and even led twice — in the third set. Washington, with a 2-0 lead and the set tied at nine apiece, had Emme Davis and Elisa Wilkins take over. The sophomore duo, with Wilkins serving and Davis excelling at the net, quickly turned the deadlock into a 14-9 advantage for the visiting Lady Pack.

It started with Davis getting the kill to bring the serve back to Washington. Wilkins then rattled off consecutive aces — two of her three on the 5-0 run — and Davis added another kill.

“Emme is a great player. She is a solid, all-around player,” Washington coach Kendall Hihn said. “I can depend on her whatever position I put her in. Elisa is a sophomore that I pulled from JV last year. Our senior setter (Kelli Cooper) is actually out right now.”

Elisa Wilkins distributes the ball during the second set of Washington’s 3-0 win over Southside. Wilkins, a sophomore, had three aces bunched together in the third set.

Southside pulled within one, 15-14, thanks to an ace from Hannah Paramore. Mackenzie Seiler’s serving helped Washington to another run, and Jordan Prescott added two aces of her own to help the Lady Pack close it out, 25-18.

“When they got a lead and they were able to pull through with the lead, you could tell they were committed the entire time and they wanted just as bad as I did, which says a lot,” Hihn said.

After running away with the first set, Washington didn’t need much time to create separation in the second. Tianna Van Cura and Hannah Respess finished off plays as the Lady Pack went on an 8-2 run that built a 15-6 lead. However, the Lady Seahawks got in their own way just as often as the visitors executed well in the second set.

Hannah Paramore serves to Washington during the second set of Thursday’s match.

In the middle of that run, Symone Ruffin showed incredible hustle to save a point and give Southside the serve. That serve, though, was short, turning it right back over to Washington.

“We have a lot of kinks. I tell the girls that, no matter what the score is, to just keep trying,” Southside coach Atyana Starkie said. She appreciated the way the Lady Seahawks fought to keep the second and third sets close. “You may make a mistake, but shake it off. It’s just a point, and you’ve got to get the next one.

“… I think it’s a lot with communication because I had a big group move up this year. They’re still learning each other.”

Chemistry will come along as the season progresses. Southside split its two-game series with Washington last year with the Lady Seahawks taking the second game, so Starkie wants to see how her side improves from Thursday to Monday’s rematch in Washington.

Monday will be the Lady Pack’s home opener after it began the season with a three-game road swing.