Tuesday, September 25, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Sylvan Hills earns solid victory

Leader sportswriter

It took all five games to determine the winner of Monday night’s non-conference volleyball match between Sylvan Hills and Greenbrier, and in dramatic fashion the Lady Bears came from behind to pull off the victory, beating the Lady Panthers 19-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-22, 17-15 in Sherwood.

In the fifth and final frame, Sylvan Hills trailed 12-10 until junior setter Shelby Simpkins cut the deficit to one after serving an ace. The Lady Bears tied it up after Greenbrier failed to get the ball back over the net on the next serve.

Sylvan Hills then grabbed its first lead of the frame after Greenbrier’s sophomore hitter Kenzie Batterton hit the ball out of bounds on a kill shot. The two respective teams went back and forth from there and played to an eventual 15-15 tie.

The Lady Bears regained the lead on a kill from sophomore Brooke Rainey, and with junior Michelle Sorensen serving, Sylvan Hills picked up the 17-15 win as the Lady Panthers failed to return the serve.

“We’ve been struggling for the last couple of weeks,” said Sylvan Hills coach Harold Treadway. “We’ve had some things going on, but we’ve won some games. We’ve played well at times, but never played well enough to put a team away like I thought we were capable. Tonight, they put everything aside and played. It was a total team effort.”

Sylvan Hills (8-5, 5-2) jumped out to an early lead in game one of the best-of-five match, but Greenbrier (7-10, 1-6) battled its way back and eventually took game one on a kill by Cameron Roberts over the right side of the net.

In the second game, Sylvan Hills started with a furious 8-1 scoring run. But from there, Greenbrier answered with an even better 10-1 run to lead 11-9. As it was the entire match, the two sides exchanged scores throughout the rest of the game, but junior Jordie Flippo’s play at the end helped the Lady Bears secure the win.

With the score tied at 18, Flippo served an ace to give Sylvan Hills a 19-18 lead. After the Lady Bears scored again, Flippo followed with back-to-back aces to make the score 22-18. However, Greenbrier scored the next three points to cut the deficit to one.

Senior hitter Val Jarrett then gave Sylvan Hills some cushion with a kill, and after the Lady Bears added another score on the next serve, Rainey closed the game with another clutch kill.

Game three saw a couple of lead changes to start, but once each team got to double digit points, Greenbrier was able to earn itself some cushion. The Lady Panthers led 16-10 at one point, but the Lady Bears wouldn’t go away easily.

Sylvan Hills was able to cut Greenbrier’s lead to 20-18 toward the end, but the Lady Panthers regrouped and outscored the Lady Bears 5-1 down the stretch to win game three 25-19. The fourth game was as competitive as any from start-to-finish, but Sylvan Hills was the tougher team in the end.

The score was tied 11 times in game four, and with it knotted up at 21, Flippo scored the go-ahead point after blocking a kill shot at the net. Flippo’s clutch point gave Sylvan Hills serving rights, and Sorensen answered with an ace.

Sylvan Hills scored the next point, but Greenbrier managed to get on the board as well. However, trailing 24-22, sophomore Savannah Baker’s serve was hit a little too hard as it landed just outside of the back line, sending the match to a decisive game five.

“I don’t know how many times we’ve played Greenbrier, but this is our first time to beat them,” Treadway said. “For some reason, volleyball is a game of momentum changes. We dug ourselves into a hole on the tie-break, but we pulled it out. I have always thought since the beginning of this season that this bunch has the talent to win a bunch of games.”

Batterton led all players with 16 kills. For Sylvan Hills, Jarrett finished with a team-high 15 kills and five blocks. Rainey picked up a double-double with 10 kills and 17 assists. Flippo finished with 19 digs to go with her four aces and four blocks.

Sylvan Hills resumed conference play yesterday at Little Rock McClellan, and will host Mills tomorrow. Check out Saturday’s edition of the Leader for scores and stats.