By VAN HOLLAND
PINETOPS – SouthWest Edgecombe had the Southern Nash Firebirds right where they wanted them Wednesday. With a 2-1 lead, the Cougars let the next two sets slip right out of their hands and feel to the Firebirds 3-2.
SouthWest had just come out of two straight sets where they dominated the floor, but the tides changed when they switched sides of the court. They didn't look like the same team.
In the final deciding set, the Cougars lost 15-10. Five of their points came from bad serves from the Firebirds. Lillian House had four points in that set and Kayla Abrams had a tip.
"I don't know what happened, because the dynamics changed on the court," Cougars coach Jennifer Smith said. "We started playing sloppy and weren't playing as a team. We got down on ourselves and just gave up."
Kaylan Page was big for the Cougars in the first four sets. She had 13 service points and three points on tips. House had seven service points and nine points on tips or spikes. Amanda Minner helped along the way with nine service points and four points on tips.
After dropping the first set 25-20, Smith regrouped her Cougar team. She put a game plan in that seemed to work the next two sets. The Cougars won the second set 25-18 and never trailed in the set. Page and Minner were instrumental in that set.
The third set started just like the second finished and the Cougars continued to keep momentum on their side. House used her athletic ability to help the Cougars maintain the lead. After trailing early on, the Cougars began dominating the court again. York reeled off three straight service points and Sydney Gould added a spike and a service point to help lead the Cougars to a 25-20 win in that set.
"I told them after the game, that games two and three are the best I have seen them play," Smith said. "It's just the best, but we are going to work on the dynamics from the last two games and fix it."
The communication barrier broke down after the third set and that's when things feel apart for the Cougars. They had four balls drop in between players in the fourth set. They failed to help their teammates on certain plays and the momentum shifted for good to the Firebirds.
"We work on communication everyday in practice about continuing to talk to each other so we know what is going on on the court," Smith said. "Today we forgot about communicating and how we are suppose to help each other on plays."
Smith wants the input from her players so she can coach them to be able to play like the second and third sets each time they take the floor.
"There is only so much I can do from the bench," Smith said. "I told them any insight they can give me as to what's happening on the court with them together during those final two games then I would love to hear it."
SouthWest is back in action today when they play at Tarboro. The match is set the begin at 5:30 p.m.