Washington falls at home to conference-leading Chargers

Published 8:28 pm Wednesday, October 3, 2018

WASHINGTON — Washington showed improvement from its first matchup with Ayden-Grifton, but still couldn’t pull off the victory over the leaders of the 2A Eastern Carolina Conference, falling to the Chargers in straight sets yesterday, 22-25, 11-25, 17-25.

“It’s frustrating because some of the things that we anticipated to happen happened and we didn’t adjust,” Washington head coach Mallory Lee said. “And we’ve talked about that in preparation for this game. Because I truly believe that they can beat them (the Chargers). But if they don’t fix the things that they know they have to, they won’t.”

Similar to the first matchup between these two teams, Washington (8-6, 2-3 2A ECC) fell behind early, as Ayden-Grifton (13-1, 5-0 2A ECC) built a 13-3 lead in the opening set. But seemingly sparked by a Leah Spencer spike that made the score 14-5 and pumped up the Washington bench, the Pam Pack began to chip away at the lead, eventually cutting the Charger lead to one point, at 20-19.

The final points of the first set were tense, as both squads battled to win it. Summer Campbell won consecutive points for the Pam Pack with a tip at the net and an ace to bring Washington within one point, at 23-22, but the Chargers held on to close out the set.

Sets two and three started similarly, with Ayden-Grifton taking the lead, but Washington couldn’t rally back like they did in the first.

“Set one was awesome. Set two they drug a little bit and they just get to a point, it seems like this, they can’t come back,” Lee said. “If they were to start stronger, then we would have less catch-up time.”

Lee believes Washington has the talent to compete with the Chargers, who lost all of three games last season as they reached the fourth round of the state playoffs before falling to eventual champion Carrboro. She said it is the mental side of the game that is limiting the Pam Pack.

“I think that they get to a point where they don’t think there’s anything that they can do and they doubt that they have as much talent,” Lee said. “I mean, yeah they (the Chargers) have two really big weapons. But we have probably five. And they just get to a point where they can’t remember that. When they have awesome moments, they don’t transfer that in to the next play and continue to build upon that. They just say, ‘oh that was a fluke. I dug that girl randomly, that shouldn’t have happened and it’ll never happen again.’ And they’ve got to get out of that mentality.”