Saturday, October 20, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Sylvan Hills slips past Jacksonville

Leader sportswriter

The Sylvan Hills Lady Bears broke out of a late-season funk just in time to defeat an upset-minded Jacksonville team 3-1 at Sylvan Hills High School on Tuesday.

The Lady Red Devils carried themselves like a team with plenty left to play for despite being mathematically eliminated from the possibility of postseason play. The Lady Bears, who lost their grip of third place in the 5A Central conference standings with a four-match skid over the past two weeks, had to dig deep in order to find a way to down their scrappy county rival.

Jacksonville led 17-13 in the first game before eventually losing 25-22, and led 17-14 in game two, but the Lady Bears fought back again and forced extra points, eventually winning 29-27.

The Lady Devils did not come up empty handed on the night, however, winning the third game 25-21 before Sylvan Hills closed the match with a very close 26-24 victory in game four.

“It almost seems like we peaked about five games ago,” Lady Bears coach Harold Treadway said. “I don’t know if this is a carry over. A lot has happened to us this year. It’s been a tough year. Luckily, this bunch has stuck with it. They just have to realize how much talent they have and put it together.”

The event also served as senior night at Sylvan Hills, with several team managers and behind-the-scenes personnel honored. The Lady Bears started the season with only one senior on the roster in Val Jarrett, but Jarrett was released from the team last week following the North Pulaski match. Jarrett disputed a decision made by assistant coach Lara Allred, and broke team policy with the confrontation.

“I’m sorry it ended the way it ended,” Treadway said. “I wanted to give her a chance because she was a senior. I wanted her to finish the year. We’re all going to have to live with that.”

Jacksonville got an early boost at the net from sophomores Bailea Mitchell and Taylor Hayden, as well as senior Shyrel McKinney. Mitchell’s two early kills helped the Lady Red Devils out to a 6-1 lead in game one, and a third kill later in the frame gave Jacksonville its biggest lead at 17-13. Sylvan Hills sophomore Brooke Rainey fought back for the Lady Bears with four kills midway through, as the hosts battled back to a 19-19 tie before outscoring Jacksonville 6-3 in the late stages.

Sylvan Hills found aggressive hitting to be a problem, as Jacksonville senior libero Katie Lawrence thwarted most of the Lady Bears’ kill attempts with solid digging in the back. Serving also gave the Lady Devils a boost in the third game as senior Lori Shore put down two aces as part of a 6-0 Jacksonville run to start the frame, while sophomore Chanell Roy added to the lead with two more aces that stretched the margin to 11-5. Serving also helped Sylvan Hills later on in the game, with five consecutive aces by junior Michelle Sorensen that took the Lady Bears from trailing 14-9 to a narrow one-point margin.

Rainey led the Lady Bears with nine kills while Sorensen added six kills and six aces. For Jacksonville, Mitchell led with 12 kills while Petties finished with six kills and three aces.