(Nov. 7, 2014) The Stephen Decatur volleyball team went head-to-head with the James M. Bennett Clippers on Monday, and despite losing a tight battle, Lady Seahawks’ Coach Sarah Purnell was “super impressed” with her players’ performance.
“My girls definitely played their hearts out,” Purnell said. “I don’t think I’ve had a team in the past that has played that well against our biggest rival.”
Fourth-seeded Decatur traveled to Salisbury on Monday to face Bennett, the 3A South Section I Regional tournament top seed.
The Seahawks took the first game 26-24.
“I think game one, Bennett did not know what hit them. Our girls were excited, communicating, passing great and making smart plays,” Purnell said. “I think Bennett definitely underestimated us for this game.”
The home team won the second game 25-20, but Decatur answered, earning a 25-18 victory in the third game.
“Game two, Bennett definitely picked their game up, but we held our own. Game three, we wanted it more and it showed,” Purnell said.
Bennett outscored Decatur 25-17 in the fourth game. The Clippers won the fifth and final game, 15-7.
“Game four, we made some silly mistakes that were hard for us to get out of,” Purnell said. “Game five, I think Bennett and their supporters started getting in the girls’ heads and they couldn’t shake them.”
Decatur senior captain Hannah Adkins had nine kills. Senior setter Haley Trice tallied seven assists and five aces. Junior Lauren Laque dug nine Bennett hits. Senior Marina Jones logged three aces and four kills.
Decatur advanced to the second round of the 3A South Region Section I after topping the No. 5 Northeast Eagles of Anne Arundel in five games on Oct. 30 in Berlin.
Points were traded in the first game, but it was Northeast who came out with a 25-23 victory.
Decatur scored eight unanswered points to start the second game, five of those points were on senior Kayla Heinz aces. The Seahawks got into a rhythm, Purnell said. Ahead 13-4, senior Victoria Williams’ four consecutive kills boosted the squad’s advantage and the Berlin team went on to win 25-7.
Decatur took the third game, 25-19.
The Seahawks played catch-up most of the fourth game until pulling ahead, 19-18. The home team led 20-18, but was outscored 7-1 in the 25-21 loss.
Decatur won the fifth game, 15-10.
“It was the first match I felt like they meshed well,” Purnell said after the competition. “I thought it was the best they played all season.”
Williams finished the match with 11 kills.
“It was the best game of her high school career,” Purnell said. “She was on a roll.”
“The mentality was to play our hardest, play our best, put our all into it because we knew that we could do it and we were capable of it,” Williams said.
Trice had seven aces and eight assists in the victory. Adkins and Jones chipped in with five kills each.
“I thought the girls ended on a high note, for sure,” Purnell said. “They played so well against Northeast and Bennett.”
Decatur finished the season 9-8.
“I think the season started off a little slow with the girls having to adjust to each other, but it is easy to see the improvements they made along the way,” Purnell said. “Seven girls will be graduating, so while it may be a bit of a rebuilding year, the girls left and coming up seem very excited about playing next year.”