Seahawks no match for the Panthers

Published 8:10 pm Monday, October 15, 2018

CHOCOWINITY — The Northside volleyball team completed a season sweep of Southside on Friday, defeating the Seahawks in three sets, 25-15, 25-21, 25-9, for the second time in the span of 12 days.

Through the serving of Kathleen Slade, Northside (8-5, 6-4 1A Coastal Plains Conference) scored the opening six points of the match. Perhaps due to playing on a Friday, Southside (5-10, 1-6 1A CPC) continued its flat play through most of the opening set, as the Panthers built a 15-point lead at 23-8.

Seahawk Madison Hudson put an end to Northside’s rally by dropping the ball in a gap in Northside’s coverage and followed with an ace two plays later. Southside managed to cut into the Panthers’ lead to make the score 24-15, but Northside’s Logan Jefferson ended all hopes of a Seahawk comeback in the first set, ending the set with a spike.

Southside head coach Atyana Starkie said she wasn’t sure why her team struggled for much of the match.

“I think we were just all out of wack,” Starkie said. “I mean I know it’s Friday, and I told them whatever day it is, lets go and play ball. But even when they made mistakes, a couple of them were like, ‘Coach, I don’t know what we’re doing,’ which I couldn’t really answer. It’s like we were lagging; we weren’t communicating; it was just rough.”

Northside continued controlling the match in the second set, building a 15-8 lead. Once again, the Seahawks made a late push and brought themselves within two points of the Panthers with the score at 21-19. A Jacqueline Wood block brought Southside within two points again at 23-21, but the Panthers maintained their poise and closed out the set, 25-21.

The Panthers went on to thoroughly dominate the third set, creating a 15-point lead before eventually taking the set by a score of 25-9. Northside head coach Michelle Leathers said the fact the Seahawks came back in the second set played a part in how the Panthers played in the third.

“We needed a wake up call,” Leathers said. “It’s Friday, everybody wants to be chilling and stuff. So the comeback in the third game and get it going, we want to see some daylight. We’re tired of going home in the dark.”

Leathers said she thought her team played well on the night, but there was one play that impressed her the most. In the third set the Seahawks looked to have scored but the quick reflexes of Slade kept the ball alive and a mad scramble ensued as Northside hit the ball back, only to see it blocked. But the duo of Slade and Taylor Chase were alert and scrambled over to barely reach the ball and return it with the ball dropping in a gap in Southside’s defense.

Leathers said she especially appreciates hustle and desire like that play showed.

“That was great hustle, and it’s just something the girls have been doing all season: starting off hustling, trying to get us some kills and stuff like that,” Leathers said. “It brings the spirit way, way up. I even get excited, you saw me jumping up (on the sideline). But it’s just me, I like excitement, I love when girls hustle; it doesn’t matter whether it’s opponents, if it’s us.”