After struggles, Rock Bridge relieved to win

The victory against Smith-Cotton ends the Bruins’ four-game home losing streak.
Tuesday, September 30, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:22 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 11, 2008

Nothing has come easy this season for the Rock Bridge girls volleyball team.

That’s what made Monday night’s 25-16, 25-18 victory against Smith-Cotton special for the Bruins.

Aside from winning for only the second time since Sept. 13, the Bruins ended a four-game home losing streak. Bruins coach Vicki Reimler said she is happy to see the streak come to an end.

“When you’ve had a rough stretch, it just feels good,” Reimler said. “It’s good for the girls to get a win. Not everything was pretty, but we had some nice plays, and we did some nice things.”

Rock Bridge improved to 5-8-2, while the Tigers dropped to 3-10.

Bruins committed only one service error

Good ball control and serving, two areas that Rock Bridge has struggled with all season, played a big part in the win. The Bruins committed only one service error all night. The team also got a boost from senior Taran Eckenrode, who looked comfortable setting in the second game. Eckenrode missed much of the early season with a broken nose, and Reimler said the team seems to be jelling around her.

“I’m sure that she’s feeling more comfortable, and I think the girls are feeling more comfortable with her out there,” Reimler said.

Smith-Cotton made it difficult for the Bruins, but Rock Bridge seemed to come together when the game got close.

The Tigers led 13-12 in the second game before Amanda Hanson’s kill tied the score. Senior Ashley Schulte had four kills and Eckenrode had four assists in a 12-5 run that gave Rock Bridge control.

Schulte led the team with six kills

Senior Kelsey Wilkinson added five kills.

“I think everyone is so sick of losing, and not everybody clicking as a team,” Wilkinson said. “Tonight we finally had it.”

In the first game, the Tigers erased a 3-0 deficit with five straight points. A Smith-Cotton error gave the Bruins a 9-8 lead, and Rock Bridge used six straight points to make it 14-8.

Smith-Cotton wasn’t finished, though. The Tigers cut the lead to 15-13, getting strong play up front from Erin Moon. Then, junior Katie Payne’s spike sparked another 6-0 run for the Bruins, and this time Smith-Cotton didn’t recover.

Smith-Cotton coach impressed with Bruins' aggressive play

While the victory left the Bruins feeling good, they’re also going to be a little sore. Defensive specialist Amy Oakes made several diving plays, and Schulte made a kill while sitting on her knees in the first game. Tigers’ coach Abby Massingill said she was impressed with the Bruins’ aggressive play.

“(Oakes) does everything,” she said. “They have great defense.”

Said Oakes: “I really wanted to win tonight. I’m tired of losing, so I just gave it all. I wanted to hit anything up I could that could keep the ball in play.

“I think that we’re really starting to group together, and really (starting) to play as a team.”

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