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Perry Central upends Lady Pack

September 18, 2019
The Crawford County Lady Pack and Perry Central Lady Commodores went through a volleyball war last Tuesday night through four games that eventually turned into a loss for the Lady Pack. After having two sluggish games against an aggressive Lady Commodore team, Crawford County tried to rally back but came up short in the end.

Crawford County's Treasure Nickelson just misses getting to the ball against Perry Central in the Lady Pack's 3-1 loss. Photo By Wade Bell
"When we come up here, we always expect a battle," said Perry Central coach Melissa James. "It's always a scrappy game."

"It's not that we played necessarily bad," said Crawford County coach Julie Adams. "We just made silly errors at critical times and got in some holes and we don't know how to dig out."

The Lady Pack scored the first point on a kill by Sara Stutzman but never led after that as Perry Central countered with a 5-0 run in game one. Their advantage later went to 12-5 on numerous Lady Commodores' attacks at the net. Crawford County finally got some traction midway through the game and pulled back within three, 16-13, following another kill by Stutzman. Perry Central later made two hitting errors, and Crawford County's deficit slimmed down to one.

Crawford County then had two hitting errors, and the Lady Commodores got kills from Jadyn Smith and Emily Parker to push the Lady Commodores' advantage back to four. Perry Central erred twice on the next two side-outs, allowing Crawford County to come back within two, but the Lady Commodores controlled to the end for a 25-20 win.

Things got worse for the Lady Pack in game two as the Lady Commodores raced out to a 13-2 lead. Crawford County fought back as Haylea Crandall delivered back-to-back kills and Lexie Fraime fired in a pair of service aces. Crawford County sat with their wheels spinning while Perry Central went on several bursts going on to a 25-12 win.

"The first two games we were serving pretty aggressive, and I think they were having a little bit of a hard time with that," said James. "As the game went on, they got better with their passing and then it became more of an offensive game."

"We had 11 over-passes in the first game alone that they slammed down our faces," Adams said. "You can't do that, and we work on our serve-receive the majority of practice for that sole reason. Myself and one of my managers are the servers just because we can serve it harder and make them work harder. Maybe we've got to practice more."

The Lady Pack put the first two games behind them and came out with more fire in game three, keeping step with the Lady Commodores through 10 ties and five lead changes. Midway through the game, Crawford County gained a two-point advantage following two Lady Commodores' hitting errors, 15-13. Perry Central quickly regained the advantage on kills by Smith and Morgan Judy.

The Lady Commodores held the advantage until Crandall killed twice for a 22-21 edge, forcing a Perry Central timeout. Maria Hubert tied the game at 22, but Crandall had the final say with three straight kills for a 25-22 Crawford County win.

"Haylea worked her butt off tonight," Adams said. "Haylea did fantastic. I actually told (JV coach) Tanya (Roser) on the bench, 'If I had two more Hayleas, two more Hayleas'."

Crawford County carried its momentum over into game four, getting an early 4-0 advantage. Perry Central quickly came back to tie the game at four, but the Lady Pack kept their distance as Treasure Nickelson killed twice to start a Crawford County run for a 15-9 advantage. The lead changed two more times as Noland and Smith delivered three more kills. Crawford County erred in the end, and the Lady Commodores got the game 25-22.

"We have a really young team, and we're still trying to find our way," said James. "It's been a little bit difficult to keep their confidence going and for us to sustain it for an entire match. We're inconsistent but, hopefully, as our kids develop and they get a little bit more confidence in themselves and each other, then we'll be able to sustain that for an entire match."

"We got the first point in the third game," said Adams. "We didn't get in that 2-, 3-point deficit. We usually choose serve-receive for the soul purpose that they usually have enough confidence in us to pass the ball and put the ball down. It didn't work for us tonight. When we have the lead, we've got to keep the lead and that's something we struggle with doing. We had a lead in that fourth game ,and they still managed to come back and beat us."

Crandall led the Lady Pack with 13 kills, while Stutzman and Nickelson finished with eight and seven kills, respectively. Crawford County missed three serves, delivered four service aces and had 27 hitting errors.

"She's such a good player I can put her right side, outside, middle; no matter where I put her she's going to find a way to get it done," Adams said of Crandall. "I really like her in the middle because she really doesn't have time to think. When she thinks, it gets in her head. In the middle, she doesn't have time to think. She just reacts and she does very well in the middle. She got a lot of touches on those balls that we weren't necessarily getting before. Blocking is usually a strong suit of ours, but it wasn't working tonight."

Bree Noland led the Lady Commodores with 19 kills, and Jadyn Smith finished with 15 kills. Morgan Judy had nine kills and three aces, while Emily Parker finished with four aces and three kills. Perry Central missed six serves but had 11 aces. The Lady Commodores had 36 errors.

"Bree has only been playing volleyball for three years," James said. "This is only her third season ever. She's still a little up and down, but she's starting to gain some confidence. She's a junior."

Adams said her team has to learn to fight at the beginning and fighting harder at the end.

"Finishing and starting," she said. "I think when we're in the middle we have that drive here and there but it's how we start and end it is where we struggle."

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