GPS Rally Clips Cleveland On Senior Night

Bruisers Win Last Three Sets To Beat Blue Raiders In Non-District Thriller

Monday, September 25, 2017 - by John Hunt

They celebrated Senior Night at GPS on Monday and the Bruisers made everyone happy with a tough, come-from-behind non-district volleyball win over Cleveland, but GPS coach Alfie Dodd wasn’t happy.

“They say that a win is a win, but I don’t always agree with that,” he said after his girls had prevailed inn five sets over a really good group of Lady Blue Raiders.

“We won the match, but we didn’t play anywhere close to our potential.  We have some big region matches coming up in the next week and we’ll have to be a lot better to have a chance of winning those,” Dodd continued.

While Dodd was somewhat unhappy with the way his girls performed, the same could be said for Cleveland coach Trish Flowers, who saw her team lose for the second straight match and drop to 21-12 for the season.

Flowers was shaking her head early in the match, saying that her girls just weren’t jelling and that something was missing, but Cleveland was somehow able to overcome those shortcomings to win the first two sets by scores of 25-20 and 25-23.

The veteran coach must have known what she was talking about as the Bruisers started their comeback with a 25-22 win in the third set before pulling out a never-say-die 27-25 decision in the fourth to even the match.

And then in the winner-take-all fifth set where teams play to 15, Cleveland overcame an early 4-1 deficit to grab a seemingly-comfortable 11-7 lead.  The Blue Raiders couldn’t hold it as the Bruisers tied things with four straight points before scoring the last three points to win the set and the match, 15-13.

“I really don’t know quite what to say as nothing seems to be working for us right now,” Flowers said after a serious heart-to-heart with her team following the match.

“I felt like from the very start that we weren’t jelling, but these girls just can’t be reached right now.  It’s a long week as we still have some big matches coming up, but we just have to find a way to win.  It seems like all they do is complain and I’m sure that some are ready for the season to be over.

“We had a chance to win this match in three sets and were even ahead by four points in the fifth set, but gave it all away.  We have a team full of great girls, but it’s not a team of competitors,” she concluded.

Senior Emma Flowers, who is one of the most dominating players in the Chattanooga area, finished off both of the first two sets with kills. 

GPS was trailing 19-17 in the third set before taking the lead with three straight points, one on a kill from Hannah Kincer and the lead-changing point on an ace by Reagan Long.  The Bruisers never trailed again as back-to-back hitting errors allowed GPS to win, 25-22.

The Blue Raiders led from the start in the fourth set and had an 18-14 lead following an ace by Sophia Lakatosh.  GPS got back in it with seven of the next eight points, the last on the strength of another Kincer kill.

The score was tied four more times, the last time at 25-all following a block by Cleveland’s Lily Oliver, but GPS took the lead when a return from Cleveland was wide while an ace from Emma Moore knotted the match at two sets each.

Cleveland again had the upper hand for most of the fifth set, the last time at 11-7, before the Bruisers were able to tie things at 11-11.

A kill from Anna Renshaw gave Cleveland a 13-11 lead before a kill from Reagan Long got the Bruisers within one.  Back-to-back aces from Preslee Brooksbank put the Bruisers at match point while a block from Long clinched the win for GPS.

“Our setter Emma Moore kept us in the match, but it takes more than one or two players contributing for us to be successful,” Dodd explained.

“Our biggest problem is we’re not consistent and rarely were we all clicking on all cylinders.  It’s a learning experience and I’m confident that we can learn from our mistakes.  But most importantly, we won a big match on Senior Night,” Dodd concluded.

Lilly Berger, Moore and Kincer were the three seniors who were honored before the match began.  All three contributed to the comeback win.

Berger had 10 kills and seven digs while Moore had 52 assists to go along with eight digs and three aces.  Kincer was credited with 14 kills.

Brooksbank had an outstanding match with 17 kills and 14 digs while Long added 15 kills.

Flowers was outstanding as usual for Cleveland as she finished with 29 kills, 11 digs and three aces.  Renshaw had 28 assists, 14 digs and seven kills while Oliver finished with 2.5 blocks.

Cleveland will be on the road again Tuesday for a critical district match with Ooltewah.  The Lady Raiders lead 5-AAA with a perfect 7-0 mark.

GPS is off for a few days before a road trip to Nashville on Oct. 5 when the Bruisers face Father Ryan and Lipscomb Academy.

CLEVELAND STATS:

Sophia Lakatosh – 3 kills, 4 digs

Lydia Martin – 7 digs

Nicole Glaser – 4 kills, 2 assists

Hannah Longley – 13 digs

Emma Flowers – 3 aces, 11 digs, 29 kills

Joy Douglass – 2 kills

Anna Renshaw – 14 digs, 28 assists, 7 kills

Lily Oliver – 2.5 blocks.

GPS STATS:

Lilly Berger – 10 kills, 2 aces, 7 digs, 2 block assists

Emma Moore – 1 kill, 52 assists, 3 aces, 8 digs

Hannah Kincer – 14 kills, 1 block assist

Reagan Long – 15 kills, 4 aces, 4 digs, 3 block assists

Kendall Crum – 2 kills

Charlotte Vance – 2 aces, 6 digs

Karly Benefield – 1 ace, 6 digs

Preslee Brooksbank – 17 kills, 4 aces, 14 digs.

(email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@gmail.com)



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