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Patrick County volleyball closes in on PD regular-season title
Cougars beat Bassett 3-1 Thursday in Stuart to stay unbeaten

Friday, October 12, 2012

By CHRIS PRIDE - Bulletin Sports Writer

Before the fourth set, Patrick County head volleyball coach Heidi Moore expressed the importance of not allowing Bassett to force a decisive fifth set in their crucial Piedmont District match Thursday at PCHS.

In fact, Moore later said her team was fortunate to be up 2-1 heading into Thursday’s fourth set instead of the other way around.

Her team heeded her advice by jumping out to a 10-2 lead, but the Bengals never went quietly forcing the Cougars to make the necessary plays late to win. The defending PD champs did just that, downing Bassett 25-13, 29-27, 21-25, 25-20 for a 3-1 victory in Stuart.

The win kept the Cougars undefeated this season at 16-0 and 5-0 in the PD.

“Obviously we want to try and start off the way we did in that fourth set every time,” said Moore. “We didn’t have a whole lot of communication in the set before, and it’s the first time in quite a while that there was none. That really frustrated me because they’ve been working really well on their communication. But they did a great job of pulling it out in the end.”

While the fourth set ultimately decided the match, it was the second set that helped shape the Cougars’ odds later in the match. The Bengals (8-4, 3-2) had a pair of opportunities to serve for the set needing to win by two but failed to do so. It was a set that Bengals head coach Dee Ragsdale said she wished her team could have back.

“It would’ve been great to pull out that second set because being level after two sets against Patrick County gives you a much better chance at beating them.”

Bassett forced Moore and Patrick County to take pivotal timeout after taking a 10-8 lead near the midway point for the second set, a set in which the Cougars started on a 4-0 run. Out of the timeout, the Cougars responded with 13 of the next 19 points to hold a firm 21-16 edge. But as Bassett did all match long, the Bengals continued to fight and forced a 23-23 tie with seven of the next nine points.

However, the Bengals were unable to put the set away twice on serve, as the Cougars took advantage of the life line. Down 27-26, Patrick County scored the next three points to win the set and take a big 2-0 lead.

“It was huge for us to win that second set,” Moore said. “It helps being up 2-0. It certainly doesn’t mean the match is over, but I think it gave us an edge mentally.”

Bassett did a great job of putting the tough second set loss behind them by charging out of the gates in the third set with more urgency. The Bengals jumped out to a 7-1 lead, prompting another Cougars timeout. Patrick County only got as close as two points at 19-17 before the Bengals put the set away thanks to a Patrick County service error.

“I was very happy with how we responded in the third set after that loss,” Ragsdale said. “The girls still had a lot of enthusiasm after the set prior and it seemed to carry over. That’s something that doesn’t usually happen after you give away some key points and lose a though set like we did. I give a lot of credit to the girls for fighting back.”

Once the Cougars got back to business in the final set, the Bengals couldn’t quite pull out of an early hole despite rallying back to within one at 20-19, erasing an early 10-2 deficit. Patrick County started using its power as Hannah Helbert and T’Keyah Hines combined for five kills in those first 10 points. The Bengals responded with a 8-3 run to make 13-10. Ragsdale then was forced to call a timeout after the Cougars rattled off five of the next seven points to re-establish a healthy six-point cushion.

The lead was short lived, however, as a slew of unforced errors brought Bassett back into the match. But PCHS’ Samantha Smith followed with two huge kills to make it 22-19, before Hines finished the match with her final kill four points later.

“We ran our offense really well at the beginning of that last set,” Moore said. “I liked our movement up front. We almost gave it away near the end, but our big hitters up front really stepped up.”

Helbert, Hines and Smith all had double digit kills, with Helbert leading the way with 20. The trio combined for 48. Hines was also active at the net on the defensive side, adding 10 blocks to her line. Beth Williams had 25 assists and four aces. Hannah Largen finished with 17 service points, and Kendra Hall had 19 assists.

Bassett was led by Jordan Joyce’s 14 kills, 15 digs and four aces. Taylor Mabry had four kills, 10 digs and a block. Olivia Ingram was busy defensively, totaling 14 digs to go with her two blocks and six kills.

Bassett hosts Tunstall, while Patrick County hosts Magna Vista, when the two teams return to action at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.


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