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Northwest Region Volleyball: Lackluster play dooms Eagles

COLONIAL FORGE CAN’T

SURGE WHEN IT COUNTS,

FALLS TO PATRICK HENRY

BY NATHAN WARTERS

THE FREE LANCE–STAR

ROANOKE—Colonial Forge volleyball coach Keith Mesa called a timeout early in the first game of Tuesday’s Northwest Region quarterfinal match at Patrick Henry High School. His words to his players could be heard from across the silent gymnasium.

He wanted to see more energy. He wanted to see his players take charge. And while the Eagles picked it up in spurts, it wasn’t enough in a three-game loss to the Patriots.

    NORTHWEST REGION

    Tuesday’s quarterfinals

    Patrick Henry 3, Colonial Forge 0

    Albemarle 3, Franklin Co. 0

    Broad Run 3, Forest Park 0

    Osbourn Park 3, Freedom 1

    Thursday’s semifinals

    Patrick Henry at Osb. Park

    Broad Run vs. Albemarle

Colonial Forge lost 25–16, 25–23, 25–22 to bow out in the region quarterfinals for the second straight year.

“We flat-out didn’t compete,” Mesa said. “I don’t know what to say, but that’s the second year in a row. We didn’t do it last year all. We just didn’t compete. We kept waiting for other kids to make plays. Nobody wanted to step up and make plays. Kids were shying away from the ball. You can’t play like that in regional play.”

Eagles senior outside hitter Maddie Scovell, who finished with 12 kills in her last game, couldn’t pinpoint a reason for the team’s sluggishness. She didn’t want to blame it on nerves, “but it’s almost like we did come in scared,” she said.

Mesa didn’t think his team played with the aggressiveness necessary to win in the region playoffs.

“Kids have got to want to win more than they are [be] scared of losing. The last two years we’ve been in the regional playoffs, we’re more scared of losing than wanting to win,” Mesa said. “I really can’t think of a kid who came out and played well tonight, and that’s a tough way to lose a season. We need our kids coming up to play better when it counts.”

The Eagles (21–10), who bused the four hours to Roanoke in the morning and made the long trek back after the match, trailed 7–4 in the first game when Mesa called the timeout. The Patriots (19–10) cruised to the win, but they found a tougher challenge from Colonial Forge in game two. The Eagles led 22–21 late in the second game before the Patriots ended on a 4–1 run.

Colonial Forge met a similar fate in the final game. It rallied to tie it 20–20 before Patrick Henry finished on a 5–2 spurt. The Patriots will now travel to Osbourn Park in the state semifinals.

“It was really nice to see at crunch time that they could kick it into another gear and finish the game when it really matters,” Patrick Henry coach Patricia Sheedy said.

Even though his team kept the final two games close, Mesa said he didn’t sense it had the energy to hold on to win either.

“We were waiting for there to be energy and for kids to step up. I thought there where we got that lead in game two that they would start to ease up a little bit as far as the nerves go, but it didn’t happen,” Mesa said. “We didn’t show any life or any energy.”

Eagles junior outside hitter Hope Kelley had eight kills. Setter Brooke Sanders had 26 assists, and libero Jenna Ulizio added eight digs.

Senior outside hitter Sarah Miller led the way for Patrick Henry with 19 kills and seven digs. Setter Carolina Brailsford had 27 assists and five kills, and libero Morgan Robison had 18 digs.

“From the first game, we passed real well, served really well and actually blocked pretty well,” Sheedy said. “We were kind of running on all cylinders right from the get-go.”

Colonial Forge’s players were left to answer for another tough regional playoff loss. Scovell remained positive about the Eagles’ season and playoff loss, even while wiping away tears.

“We all trust each other and we came up as a family and wanted to win. We wanted to go far, but I don’t have a complete reason why we didn’t play well,” Scovell said. “I’m only going to think positive thoughts. There’s nothing I regret about any of this. I love everybody.”

Nathan Warters: 540/374-5442

nwarters@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/sports/2012/11/07/northwest-region-volleyball-lackluster-play-dooms-eagles/