By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD, Va. —
If it wasn’t one Tiffany, it was the other Tiffany.
The senior duo of Tiffany Kast and Tiffany Perdue combined for 25 kills, leading Narrows to a 25-16, 25-16, 25-17 Mountain Empire District victory over Graham on Thursday night at Graham High School.
A pair of first-year coaches were on the floor, including Jon Bright at Narrows — who had previously been at John I. Burton in Norton — and Graham’s Omi Oakes, a former standout basketball player for the G-Girls, who has also served as track coach for her alma mater.
“I just started a week before the season started,” Oakes said. “I am very excited, I played volleyball in school, basketball was my sport, but I played some volleyball so I am very excited.
“This is my alma mater, I wouldn’t coach anywhere else.”
Perdue led the Lady Waves with 13 kills and five aces, while Kast added 12 kills and one block. Shana Davis hustled throughout, finishing with 39 assists and seven digs, while Courtney Smith provided 10 kills and four digs.
“Tiffany (Kast) is real steady, she is real consistent for us,” Bright said. “We rely on Tiffany Perdue a lot and if we can’t get it to her, we need Courtney or Tiffany (Kast) to step up and Madison Bragg is real consistent.
“We have got several different girls and it is a team effort. If one is not going the others have got to step up their game and we will do what we can to get it done.”
It was all Narrows (11-6) early in the opening set, jumping out to a 12-1 lead on the G-Girls. Graham then took advantage of some mental mistakes to narrow the margin to within six points on two occasions before going down one game to none.
“We have just got to quit being so streaky, we’re either good or we’re bad, we’re good or we’re bad,” Bright said. “We’re like a roller coaster, but once we get good we have to learn to stay there and not give up momentum when we’ve got it.”
The next two sets had a combined seven lead changes and six ties as the G-Girls challenged the Green Wave at the net, led by senior hitter Rebecca Day, along with Emaleigh Gallinger, Taylor Webb and Caitlin Vance, among others.
“I thought Graham hustled their tails off,” Bright said. “They played real scrappy tonight, they kept a lot of balls alive and gave us many opportunities to make some mistakes.”
Narrows did just that at times, with Graham taking advantage in the second set, leading as late as 13-12 before the Wave exploited the G-Girls with five straight service points and an ace from Davis, and Narrows never led by less to take a 2-game lead.
Kast had five kills in that set alone for Narrows, while Lindsey Kast added a pair of aces.
Day led Graham in kills with four, while Beth Rider and Vance had two apiece. Graham soccer standout Morgan Whisman had a pair of aces.
“They played as a team tonight, they really did,” Oakes said. “We have seven seniors, but we have a lot of young players that play strong, we played a lot of our young players tonight and they were really good.
“Rebecca Day, who is our senior hitter, played really hard, we also have a freshman, Mellie Anderson, who is a good server so we are trying to get them all over the board. We are playing freshmen and seniors, but we working together as a team.
“We used our fundamentals more than we have all season.”
There were three more lead changes and four ties in the third set as the G-Girls looked to extend the match, but Perdue had seven kills and two aces to enable the Lady Wave to pull ahead to stay. Smith had three kills in the set.
“All in all, I am pleased with the performance, the big thing we have to do is get better passes to our setter,” Bright said. “We have got some decent hitters, if our setter (Davis) is running around everywhere, she can’t get them the ball where they need it and then we are struggling to get a point.”
Narrows, which will host Fort Chiswell on Tuesday, has just three matches left before the revamped postseason tournament begin.
“All in all, we will take it, it is getting late in the year,” Bright said. “We have got to try to peak right now. Still there are a lot of things we have got to work on and it showed at times tonight.”
Graham, which has won four games this season — including three in a row at one point — returns to the court on Tuesday at Bland County, with four matches left before the playoffs begin.
“I think our girls are really strong, sometimes I think they just misjudge their strengths and they are young,” Oakes said. “We have a senior hitter and our other hitters are sophomores and freshmen.”
—Contact Brian Woodsonat firstname.lastname@example.org