n Charleston now 2-1 behind attack that shows balance
CHARLESTON -- After a 2006 season which included only four victories, the Charleston Lady Jays varsity volleyball team is determined to improve.
On Thursday, Charleston proved its intentions by earning its second win of its first three games of the 2007 campaign, knocking off Malden 25-19, 25-21.
"These girls are working so hard to improve and I'm so proud of their effort, not only in practice, but also in matches," Charleston coach Kathy Browning said.
The Lady Jays, who lost at Oran in their season-opener on Monday, bounced back Tuesday night with a home victory against Caruthersville. After topping a scrappy Malden squad Thursday, Charleston (2-1 overall) already has half of its win total from 2006.
On Thursday, outside hitter Sydney Lawrence served three aces and added three kills for Charleston, which also received a team-high four kills and one ace from middle hitter Emily Dugan. Tiffany Johnson gave balance to the Lady Jays' attack by recording three kills and two aces. Dugan and Faye Parker had blocks.
"(Lawrence) has been working on her left-hand hits. And tonight she had some left-hand hits that dropped in for her," Browning said.
Jalesa Hubrins hammered down a match-high five kills for Malden, which fell to 0-3 this season. She added one ace and one block. Christa Herbst chipped in three kills for Malden while Kelly Lemarr had two aces, two blocks and one kill.
The Lady Wave have also lost to Bernie and Hayti this season.
Malden built a 5-1 lead in Game 1 behind a pair of kills from Hubrins. But Charleston ended the Lady Wave's rally on a kill by Lawrence. After Dugan placed an ace between the Malden defense and Lawrence went on a three-ace scoring spree, the Lady Jays were staring up at a 9-7 lead.
"We had some excellent serves from the girls," Browning said. "When they're on, they're really on. That was case here tonight."
Consecutive kills from Herbst forced a 9-all tie until Kristen Haines broke the deadlock with a kill for Charleston. Holding a two-point lead moments later,
Dugan and Lawrence had four straight kills with the middle hitter claiming a trio of them as the Lady Jays grabbed a 17-12 lead and Malden coach Amber Hendrix asked for a timeout.
Despite three more kills from Hubrins, the Lady Wave could only come within four points during the rest of Game 1. Parker, Johnson and Lawrence offset the Malden attack with one kill each during the final stages.
In Game 2, the Lady Wave held leads of 6-5 and 7-6 on kills from Lemarr and Taylor Shelton, but could not generate any more momentum. When Lawrence and Parker teamed to deliver, first, an ace, and then, a kill, Charleston took a 9-7 lead.
The Lady Jays' advantage ballooned to a six-point bulge after kills from Johnson and Dugan, despite Lemarr's effort of consecutive service aces.
After a Malden timeout, Hubrins tried to lead a Lady Wave rally with a pair of consecutive kills that, ultimately resulted in Lemarr posting a pair of blocks and cut the Charleston lead to 21-19.
The Lady Jays finished off Malden after a timeout, when Lawrence served an ace and hitting, passing and serving errors benefitted Charleston.
Malden won the junior varsity match in two games from Charleston 25-19, 26-24.