Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

October 3, 2013

Tornado Sweeps Dogs

By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

RICHLANDS, Va. — Poor ball.

 That might be how the volleyball felt that was used during Richlands' 25-14, 25-19, 25-17 victory over Tazewell on Wednesday night at Richlands High School.

 Richlands seniors Mac Cordill and Sarah Compton pounded the ball over the net on a regular basis during the three-set victory, combining for 21 kills between the two of them.

 "Mac, when she is on, she is a tough hitter," Richlands coach Ronnie Sparks said. "She had a couple of hitting errors, she hits the ball long every now and then if she don't hit it just right, but she had some really good hits tonight. I am proud of her performance.

 "Sarah, when she is on, she hits the ball really hard too. They are both good, powerful hitters and when they are hitting good, it is good for us."

 They were on this night, as Richlands completed a third-game stretch in three nights, having lost earlier in the week to Abingdon and Marion.

 "We played three nights in a row and we played in a tournament Saturday so we've had kind of a marathon week the last few days," Sparks said. "It is nice to kind of finish it off on a positive note."

 Cordill bashed the ball from the Richlands side of the court, producing 13 kills, 19 digs and a block, while Compton added eight kills and a block. Hannah Alley added 13 service points and four kills and Nadia Ashiq went to the floor to dig 12 shots. Much of that production was set up by freshman setter Olivia Harmon, who had 30 assists.

 "(Olivia) has done a good job for us, that is a big role for her to be the only setter as a freshman, but she does an extremely good job," Sparks said. "She passes the ball well too when she is back on defense and she hits the ball good so is an all-around good player for us.

 "She is as good fit in that position, she is pretty tall so it gives us an extra tall blocker on that side, which is always positive. I am glad to have her as a freshman performing that well."

 Richlands (12-7) controlled the match from the start. There were four early ties and one lead change in the opening set, keyed by a trio of aces from Kelsey Perry, four kills (and one ace) from Cordill and two by Compton.

 Tazewell led early at 1-0, but Richlands took the lead for good in that set on an ace by Perry. The Blue Tornado did an efficient job of finding holes in the Tazewell defense, scoring seven of eight points at one point to pull away for the first set win.

 "I think when we play as a team they cover up those holes, but when there is a little lack of communication, that is when we normally lose it," Tazewell coach Katie Hurley said. "When our girls play as a team they show up, I guess that is what we need to work on is our communication."

 Leading the Tazewell attack was the athletic combo of Haley Christian, who had four kills, and Kaley Holloway who added two. Whitney Saunders was seemingly all over the floor, finishing with four digs, while Brianna Tabor contributed three aces.

 "Kaley can kill the ball and so can No. 23 (Christian), she can really hit the ball too," Hurley said. "When they get pushed back and we work on our passing and get the ball to our setter, they will hit the ball."

 That unit never led as Richlands rolled in the second set, taking an early 3-0 lead, and were led by Cordill with three kills and two from Compton, who joined Ailey Earls with an ace apiece. Tazewell did two aces by Tabor and one from Karlee Wasilewski, but the Blues never trailed and were never tied in the set.

 The final set featured three ties and two lead changes, with Tazewell building its biggest lead of the match at 5-2, but the Blues scored the next five points, keyed by kills from Cordill and Compton and an ace by Harmon. Cordill and Compton each had four kills in the finale, while Alley added two. Compton also added an ace.  

 Tazewell trailed 24-14, but scored the next three points before a serve that flew long ended the match in favor the Lady Blues, who will finally get a hiatus before a three-match week beginning Monday at Grayson County.

 "I told the girls that is what we have got to do, we have got to get more consistent hitting the ball," said Sparks, after watching the Falcons and Scarlet Hurricane do much the same to them in the previous two matches. "They came out tonight and we hit the ball extremely well. We passed well, played defense well and they were able to find their spots to get some kills so that was a much better performance."

 Tazewell, whose record is around the .500 mark on the season, will travel to Bland County on Monday.

 "With the Richlands and Tazewell rivalry, they wanted to win this game so I think they were definitely more willing to take a hard fall than sometimes they would be," said Hurley, who saw a match in which both teams spent plenty of time diving to the floor after loose balls. "They did a good job, considering the competition I think they should be proud of themselves."

— Contact Brian Woodson at bwoodson@bdtonline.com