Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

October 10, 2012

Bluefield College spikes WVU Tech

BLUEFIELD, Va. — The future of the Bluefield College volleyball team looks bright.

No one knows better than second year head coach Brian Votaw.

“I feel very, very good about our future,” Votaw said. “We start five freshmen most nights and they are extremely talented players that we were fortunate to bring in with the class of 2012 and we are looking to build a solid foundation around them.”

They certainly looked good on Wednesday night, as high-flying freshmen Jasmine Morrow and Colby Combs led the Rams to a 25-21, 25-20, 25-16 non-conference win over West Virginia Tech at the Dome Gymnasium.

Hannah Winter and Amber Taylor-Inge are also freshmen who started for Bluefield, which improved to 11-12 on the season.

“We have got some growing pains, but their athletic ability is incredible and they are just superior players that we are blessed to have them,” Votaw said. “We are looking forward to continuing to add and build the program as we go.”

Leading the Rams was Morrow, a freshman from Evangel Christian in Woodbridge, Va., who contributed 21 kills and 13 digs. Votaw said Morrow was a highly-sought after recruit, who chose Bluefield over numerous offers because of her desire to play at a Christian college in Virginia.

The 5-foot-8 Morrow repeatedly used her leaping ability to tower above the net and smash the ball to the other side.

“We are very blessed to get Jasmine to come play for us,” Votaw said. “Certainly God has gifted her with tremendous abilities and hitting the ball hard and she can jump and all the things you look for in a solid outside hitter.  

“I think she was originally recruited by over 200 schools. I think she went on 20-some or 30-some visits and I had to outlast all of those and some how we got her here and we think she is the right fit. We think she enjoys it here, we know she is contributing well to the program and she is going to be one of our key factors as we continue on.”

Much the same words can be used to describe 5-11 Combs, who also had 15 kills and four aces with a similar style of game.

“She is a very good player, we were blessed to get her also,” said Votaw, whose Rams have been hampered by injuries to talented incoming freshmen Anna Church and Steffi Dutton. “She was the conference player of the year at one of the biggest schools in North Carolina...

“Even as excited as I am about what we’ve got I still haven’t had all the players that I recruited on the court at the same time.”

Bluefield does have four seniors, led by Cheznee Daily, who contributed 33 assists.

While the Rams have plenty of depth, the Bears aren’t so lucky. They were led by Haley Pauley with eight kills, while Summer Stokley and Kylie Whitney had six apiece. Jaymee Hannan dished out 23 assists, Kaylah Bovard contributed 17 digs and Whitney also blocked two shots.

Injuries have caused West Virginia Tech first-year coach Jackie Buchanan to have a smaller roster than she would like.

“I would like my team to be a little bit bigger for next year so I can look down at the bench and have somebody to turn to that I can really count on..,” Buchanan said. “We just need to find our groove and start to gel and hopefully get rid of those injuries and get in a rhythm...

“I think if we could just keep this lineup and keep it going it will be good.”

Bluefield pulled away from an 11-11 tie in the first game, going on a 10-2 run to pull away for the win. West Virginia Tech built a 12-9 lead in the following game, but the Rams went on another long run of success.

It was more of the same in the third game, with Bluefield cruising to their second three-game win over the Bears this season.

“(Pauley) is definitely a strong leader and has the drive and aggressiveness that we are looking for,” said Buchanan, whose Bears will be looking for more players like Pauley. “They definitely a few times hit it over our blockers and that hurt us a little bit.”

Bluefield is currently in its first season in the Mid-South Conference, sitting in six place in the 11-team league. Georgetown, which is ranked among the top NAIA clubs in America, is considered the team to beat.

“It is a real good conference...,” Votaw said. “Our goal is to get into the top eight and get into the conference tournament, but right now we are sitting at sixth and I think we have a good shot of holding that position...

“We are actually doing pretty well based on what we have got and where we are at.”

Bluefield returns to action on Tuesday at UVa-Wise, followed the next night by a visit to Concord.

—Contact Brian Woodson

at bwoodson@bdtonline.com

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