Wolves fall to Pirates, sweep Pioneers in volleyball matches
NEWBERRY — The Newberry Wolves pushed the 25th-ranked Armstrong Pirates to the edge Saturday afternoon but could not complete an upset win, falling in five sets (12-25, 25-22, 17-25, 25-23, 15-6) in Eleazer Arena.
Newberry is now 10-4 on the season, while Armstrong maintains its undefeated mark at 13-0. Newberry travels to Anderson on Tuesday, Catawba on Friday and Queens on Saturday for a trio of road South Atlantic Conference matches next week.
“We had a great opportunity to have a top 25 program in our arena and get a win today and I felt that we played pretty well in sets two and four even though we lost those, and gave ourselves a chance to win the match,” head coach Todd Hay said. “Set five was not a good set for us, as our passing broke down. Overall on the day, I thought our play was still pretty good. We blocked well and that kept us in a lot of points. Now we have to regroup, learn from our mistakes and execute on this tough road trip coming up.”
Samantha Parrish had another double-double with 12 kills and 16 digs, while also putting up two solo blocks. Elayni Stokes had a fantastic match in the back row with 28 digs to lead both teams.
In the middle, Jessica King hit .412 with nine kills and three blocks, while Alexus Horton (Austin, Texas) hit .312 with seven kills and five blocks. Logan Hayward had nine kills, Holly Brisson hat eight kills and four blocks and Amanda Soper had six kills and four blocks.
The Wolves came out to a blistering start in the first set, hitting .346 with 11 kills to only two errors. Newberry powered its way to a 25-12 win in the set over a shell-shocked Armstrong squad. Brisson and King had three kills each to lead the Wolves, who also benefited from 10 Armstrong errors.
The Pirates went on a six point run early in the second set to go up by four points, but the Wolves were able to come back and tie up the set at 19-all. However, the Pirates took a two-point lead and Newberry was unable to get closer and finish off the set. Newberry hit only .038 in the frame, while AASU hit .103. Newberry was able to put up five blocks in the set and Parrish had three kills.
In the third set, a five-point Newberry rally in the middle of the set put the Wolves up at 14-6 and Newberry led by as many as 10 points in the frame to cruise to a set win. Hayward had four errorless kills, while Parrish had five kills and two service aces. Newberry hit .333 in the set to go up two sets to one.
The fourth set was the most tense set of the day, with 10 ties and two lead changes. The frame was tied as late as 22-all, but the Pirates scored three of the final four points, with a close call kill giving the Pirates the set. Armstrong hit .250, while Newberry hit .184, with four errorless kills from Horton.
Unfortunately for Newberry, the Pirates’ largest surge of the day started the deciding set, as Armstrong went out to a 5-0 lead. Newberry was able to narrow its deficit to 10-6, but the Pirates scored the final five points and had three service aces in the set to earn the win.
The Newberry Wolves earned a 29-27, 25-18, 25-22 sweep of the visiting Tusculum Pioneers in South Atlantic Conference action at Eleazer Arena Friday.
Newberry moves to 10-3 overall and 5-3 in SAC play entering a big non-conference match Saturday, with undefeated and 25th-ranked Armstrong coming to Eleazer Arena for a 1 p.m. start. Tusculum is now 9-5 and 4-3 in the league.
“We had a great atmosphere tonight and it was really great to see so many people come out on a Friday night and support both of our teams and our efforts for breast cancer awareness,” head coach Todd Hay said. “I’m really proud of our student body for generating a lot of noise and giving us a great home court advantage.”
“Tonight was a night that I felt was a must-win situation. I’m really proud of the team for responding to that pressure. That being said, we’ve got to find ways to finish off sets. There were too many times we had comfortable leads and got a little lax and had some mental lapses.”
“I’m really proud of Alexus Horton tonight, as she hit a good percentage and was in on six blocks. Holly Brisson got the start and responded will with nine kills. Elayni Stokes did a good job steadying us in the first set and was very good on serve receive.”
Horton had five errorless kills for a .556 percentage nad the aforementioned six blocks, two of which were solo. Brisson hit .286, while Jessica King hit .375 with eight kills.
Samantha Parrish had 10 kills and earned a double-double with 17 digs, while Stokes was fantastic in the back row with 22 digs, including 13 in the first set. Logan Hayward also had 10 kills.
The first set was the toughest for both teams, as it took extra points to decide a winner. Newberry had a lead at 21-14, but an 8-1 run later on let Tusculum tie the set back up at 23-23. From there, both teams wasted opportunities on set point, but Newberry had a Horton kill and saw a Tusculum attack go wide to give the Wolves a 29-27 set win. Tusculum had a higher hitting percentage, but Newberry had 27 digs in the set to keep points alive, with 13 coming from Stokes. Brisson, Hayward and Parrish each had four kills in the set.
In the second set, Newberry put up five blocks and held the Pioneers to a negative hitting percentage at minus-.045. Horton had three blocks in the set, including a solo on set point. King and Parris had three kills apiece in the set.
Out of the break, Newberry flew out to an 8-0 lead, but the Pioneers woke up and quickly narrowed the margin to 10-8. Newberry never lost its edge though, and a Parrish kill set off the celebrations in Eleazer. Hayward had five kills in the final set and the Wolves held Tusculum to a .000 hitting percentage in the frame.
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