The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

October 11, 2013

NE rallies past Vikings 3-2

VAN HOLLAND
Sports Correspondent

TARBORO — North Edgecombe played lackadaisical during most of the five sets Thursday against Tarboro, but the Warriors were the ones who got the most breaks in the match and earned a 3-2 victory. The win puts the Warriors, Vikings and Northampton Jaguars in a three-way tie for third place in the Two Rivers Conference.

With the Warriors ahead 17-16 in the final set, Tarboro returned the serve and Warrior Brittany Blackwell returned the volley and the Warriors thought they'd won and began celebrating, but Tarboro somehow got the volley back over the net and Blackwell then returned the ball as her teammates looked on in awe, as Tarboro watched the ball hit the floor and gave the Warriors the 18-16 win.

"I don't know why we began celebrating like that," Warriors coach Marion King said. "I had told them before to play until the whistle is blown. But we did a good job in that last set to keep our composure and we were able to win."

After the Warriors won, they were excited and began celebrating even harder.

"This was a big win for us," King said. "We had beat them 3-0 the first time around, but I knew it wasn't going to be that easy tonight. We fought back at the right times after going down a set and made some big plays to come back."

Tarboro was frustrated with themselves after the match. They walked off the court in frustration knowing they had the match won, but down the stretch their communication turned south and caused them to lose points with balls hitting the floor and serves not getting over the net.

"We have several seniors, but when it comes to crunch time I think we are afraid of the challenge and we start playing tentative," Tarboro coach Jamie WIlloughby said. "When you start playing like that things go against you and don't go your way. North Edgecombe didn't quite and they keep firing back at us."

It was a battle most of the match with Jazmine White and Marquisha Tucker going at each other at the net spiking balls. White had the edge on Tucker though. White  finished with 22 kills and Tucker had nine. White was able to keep Tarboro around through the second and third sets when she helped them win each of the sets by her performance at the net.

"Jazmine did a good job again at the net," Willoughby said. "Her confidence is showing right now, because she has been playing big at the net lately, where earlier in the season she wouldn't have as many kills because the sets wouldn't be in her comfort zone."

Tarboro lost the first set, but fought back to win the second and third, but the Warriors made a run to take the fourth and force a tiebreaker. Early in the second and third sets they were having communication problems and were standing around not going after balls that were played back in their space, which forced King to call several timeouts.

"We didn't communicate like I thought we should've early on." King said. "They finally listened during the timeouts and stopped standing around and began moving. I told them to keep fighting and stay focused and they did."

Now the three schools have to wait to see what kind of scenario is played out to determine who gets the third seed going into the conference tournament, which begins next week.