Saturday, September 13, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Bears win two Central matches

Leader sports editor

Sylvan Hills got a straight-set victory Thursday at Jacksonville, winning the first two games easily before having to come from behind in game three to make it a straight-set sweep. Scores in the match were 25-8, 25-11 and 25-21.

Jacksonville took a 16-10 lead in game three before Sylvan Hills coach Harold Treadway called a timeout to try and regroup his team.

The Lady Bears broke serve after the timeout and senior Alison Staton served four points and three aces before Jacksonville finally broke back. That made the score 17-15 Jacksonville, and the two teams traded service breaks once more to make it 18-16. Sylvan Hills dominated the rest of the way.

Junior Maddison Shelton served up six-straight points, including three more aces to give the Lady Bears a 23-19 lead. Jacksonville’s Kymberly House then scored an ace and two points on serve before the Lady Bears broke for a 24-21 lead. Aleah Williams then served out the set and match with a game-ending ace.

Treadway was happy with the way his team played most of the match.

“It was good to get a win in three games,” Treadway said. “I wasn’t pleased with how we played in the middle part of that last game, but if you’re going to have a lull, it’s good to do it then as long as you come out of it. We were able to regroup and come out of it, and I thought we ended the match playing really well.”

The match started with the two teams going back and forth with service breaks, many of which were merely missed serves. The Lady Bears got their service game corrected, while Jacksonville continued to struggle to get serves over the net and inbounds.

With game one tied 3-3, Sylvan Hills went on its first run, scoring seven-straight points by Taylor Yeoman’s serve. Jacksonville finally broke to make it 10-4, but Sylvan Hills was still in control.

The Lady Red Devils also suffered a lot of bad luck in game one. On four occasions, points that were originally given to Jacksonville were reversed, the reasons for which were not always clear to the observers.

Game two was a continuation of game one; with Sylvan Hills serving up several aces while Jacksonville struggled to return serve.

Sylvan Hills opened game three the same way as the previous two games, but Jacksonville then went on a surprising and dominant run. The Lady Red Devils continued to slag to a 7-1 deficit in game three before a huge 15-3 surge lifted them to the 16-10 lead which led to Treadway’s second timeout.

“I think we got a little complacent after winning those first two games so easily,” Treadway said. “This team hasn’t been as consistent as it needs to be. I think this was good for us. We’re not so good that we’re at the point that we can let up and lose focus and still be able to beat people.”

The players are also recognizing that point, and after some lackluster moments earlier in the week, they came to Treadway requesting some changes.

“They told me there needed to be consequences,” Treadway said. “My original question was, ‘well, isn’t losing enough? Doesn’t that bother you enough?’ They said, ‘no.’ They wanted there to be real consequences for poor play. So we implemented some things in practice this week to address it when we don’t play up to our potential. I really think this group has the potential to be really good. But I don’t think we’ve reached it yet.”

Sylvan Hills hosts rival North Pulaski on Tuesday, then travels to McClellan next Thursday.