THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
North Edgecombe hasn't had a match that has gone into the fourth set this season. They faced that task Tuesday when they lost 3-1 to Two Rivers Conference opponent Northampton County. The loss is only the second all season for the Warriors, but is the second in a row.
Northampton took advantage of a lot of Warrior miscues and the Warriors broke down in the fourth set. They could only stand and watch as the Jaguars won point after point.
"We are injured right now and have some players missing," Warriors coach Marion King said. "We haven't had time to rest and that isn't an excuse. We have to get back out here and work at practice to get better."
King saw the change in momentum when her players took the floor in the fourth set. She saw some things she didn't like early on and called a timeout, but that didn't help because the Warriors were letting balls drop between them and weren't chasing down the loose balls as they were in the first three sets.
"We haven't played a fourth set this year and we weren't use to it," King said. "It just caught up with us."
The Warriors had a lack of communication from the beginning of the match, but settled down and made positive things happen after they went down one set.
"Communicating is something we have to do on the court," King said. "We have to talk to each other and we have to let everyone know where we are on the floor and whose ball it is when it is played on our side."
In the first set, North Edgecombe trailed by three points, but Marquisha Tucker provided three straight service points to knot the set at 22-22. Brittany Blackwell then added a tip to give the Warriors a 23-22 lead, but Northampton fought back and used their size on the next two plays where they won points on spikes. Northampton was called for being in the net and that tied the set up 24-24. The Jaguars went back to their size in the middle of the net and scored the next two points on spikes to end the set and take a 1-0 lead.
Blackwell and the Warriors were bound and determined to win the next set. She and Tucker were all over the place and was helping their teammates win points all over the court. Blackwell blocked two spikes in the set and then added three service points. Tucker added a tip, two spikes and two service points that match and the Warriors won 25-18.
"Brittany, Marquisha and Alexandria (Eatmon) are our three leaders and we expect a lot out of them," King said. "These girls provide the atmosphere for the team."
Northampton used the whole court in the third set and took advantage of Warrior mistakes once again. Northampton trailed 14-10, but found a way to come back in the match. They used their length up front to score five straight points. Blackwell was still giving all she had, along with Eatmon, but the Jaguars were just too much on the net.
The Warriors broke down after losing the lead in the set. They weren't defending their side of the net and were slow moving to the ball. The Warriors had to shift people around because of the injuries, but King didn't expect to give up points the way that they did.
"We have to talk at the net and we have to make sure we know who is defending what spots," King said. "By shifting people around and having players out of place our chemistry just wasn't there today. I don't know who this was that showed up to play because it just wasn't us."
North Edgecombe travels to South Creek Thursday for another Two Rivers Conference showdown.