Bruins let leads slip away as Jays rally

Rock Bridge still searching for first victory of the year.
Wednesday, September 1, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:31 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Rock Bridge volleyball team dug hard for its first victory Tuesday against Jefferson City but came up empty-handed.

The Bruins won the first game 25-22 but dropped the next two, 26-24, 26-24, because of their inconsistent play and the inability to hold several leads.

The home crowd helped Rock Bridge come out strong in the first game.

“The girls were more psyched,” Bruins coach Beth Newton said. “Their friends were in the stands. I think that helped them focus in the first game.”

The victory was the team’s first of the year after it lost consecutive games Monday at Helias. The Bruins kept up their strong play into the second game, taking a commanding 10-3 lead.

“We were all feeding off the first game,” said junior Amanda Hanson, who led the team with nine kills.

Jays setter Mardi Pritchett injured her leg during the next rally and left the game, but rather than faltering, Jefferson City went on an 8-1 run to tie it at 11.

“The team (Jefferson City) kind of rallied around her,” Newton said. “We had the momentum, but sometimes there is a shift and it’s extremely hard to get that back.”

After taking 23-20 lead, Rock Bridge allowed six of the next seven points and lost the second game.

The third game was no different. After dominating the first 10 points and taking a 9-1 lead, the Bruins again allowed the Jays to get back into a game Rock Bridge would eventually lose.

“We need more stability,” Hanson said. “We can’t keep getting these huge leads and letting down if we want to compete with the best teams.”

Newton said it’s going to take time to get steady play because the team has some rotations that are very young.

“We had times where we could have played with anybody in the state,” Newton said. “We have to keep those together for longer periods.

“The streaks should even out once we get a few more games under our belt. They just have to work on passing and they’ll be OK.”

Newton said the game, though emotional, was a good experience for the team. She said a few players looked more comfortable than in the season-opening loss.

“It was fun and exciting,” she said. “Marissa Jeffrey and Amanda Grayson really stepped up with their passing. Jade Hardaway had some key digs near the end of the game in the back row.”

Sophomore setter Lindsey McDaniel led the team with 30 assists and said she was pleased to be competitive with the Jays.

“We were really nervous about Jeff City and really intimidated by them,” she said. “Our play was such an improvement over last year.”

Rock Bridge’s next match is against Montgomery County on Tuesday.

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