14th Sep2012

Week 4 of area High School football previews

by Lee Wagner

Each Friday Topsail News Online’s Lee Wagner will give a breakdown of each game our four local high school football teams will play. The feature will include breakdowns for not only our local team but their opponents. Stay tuned each week.


WHERE & WHEN: At Topsail High School, Hampstead, 7:30 p.m.

COACHES: Topsail – Bryan Davis, 7th year (35-23); Northside – Bob Eason.

SEASON’S RECORD: Topsail is 2-1 after a 16-13 win over Trask, a 26-7 win over 4A Ashley, and a 22-20 loss to Pender. Northside is 4-0 with wins over R. L. Fike (34-21), Jacksonville (12-0), West Craven (26-0), and White Oak (35-0).

NEXT GAME: Topsail travels to East Duplin for an East Central 2A Conference game. Northside returns to Jacksonville to face Swansboro in a conference tilt.

LAST PLAYED: Northside beat Topsail 43-21 on Sept. 16, 2011.

COMMON OPPONENTS: None at this time.

KEY PLAYERS FOR NORTHSIDE: QB Jake Erickson, WR Jose Cabrera, WR Shadell Markee.

KEY PLAYERS FOR TOPSAIL: Sr. RB/OLB Devin Williams, Soph. QB Austin Schoenleber, Sr. QB/WR/OLB Matt Gilgo, Sr. TE/DE Trevor Savidge, Sr. TE/LB Mason Kimmel, Sr. OL/DE Ben Houghton, Jr. OL/LB Jakeem Smith, Sr. PK Alex Webster, Sr. P/WR/DB Palmer Rice.

FOR NORTHSIDE TO WIN: Well, the Monarchs are 4-0 but the four teams they have played are a combined 5-10 and Jacksonville has three of their wins so it is hard to determine just how good this team is. They appear to have a good mix of running and passing, and QB Erikson can get the job done through the air but can he do that against – perhaps – one of the better defenses he will have faced to this point. Must mix it up and keep Topsail’s offense on sidelines and, defensively, must contain running of Williams and Hunter Jacobs (and Josh Jessup if he is healthy) while keeping Schoenleber off balance when he passes.

FOR TOPSAIL TO WIN: I was impressed with the way the Pirates shut down Quincy Rhodes and the high-powered offense last week, and they will need the same effort this week against a Bob-Eason coached Ashley triple-option offense. Mistakes kept Topsail from scoring more against both Trask and Pender and if they can eliminate them offensively I think they can move the ball against a good Northside defense that has pitched three shutouts in their four wins.


WHERE & WHEN: At Trask High School, Rocky Point, 7:30 p.m.

COACHES: Trask – Interim Coach Bill Mercier takes over for the ill Glenn Sellers, 1st game as a head coach (0-0). Sellers was 14-27; Midway – Tommy Sloan.

SEASON’S RECORD: Trask is 0-3 after a 42-14 loss to Ashley, a 26-14 loss to North Brunswick and 16-13 loss to Topsail. Midway is 3-1 with wins over Southside (34-21), Rosewood (44-7), and Princeton (62-30), and a loss to South Johnston (33-10.

NEXT GAME: Trask is at home against Lakewood, and Midway is at home against Wallace-Rose Hill.

LAST PLAYED: Trask beat Midway 44-26 on Sept. 19, 2011.


KEY PLAYERS FOR MIDWAY: QB Taylor Calcutt, WR Troy Spell, RB Aaron Thurman, K Jansen Wrench, RB Jeremy Robinson, LB Jordan Thompson, LB Luke Clark.

KEY PLAYERS FOR TRASK: QB/FS Larry Johnson, WR/FS Arthur Brown, WR/DB Ethan Bishoff, FB/LB Quan Brown, RB/DB Jakita Lane, RB/LB D. J. Love, TE/DE Kemodrick James, T/NG Josh Smith

FOR MIDWAY TO WIN: If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Raiders are 4-0, have scored 150 points in those four games while yielding just 91, and 33 of those came in only loss to South Johnston and 30 came after Raiders had large lead in 62-30 win over a not-very-good (0-4) Princeton team. Must move the ball consistently against an inconsistent Titans’ defense, and must work defensively on curtailing Quan Brown’s running, and the QB leadership of Johnson. Just for the record, Midway’s four opponents have a combined 6-10 record with South Johnston (3-1) and Southside (2-2) recording five of the six wins.

FOR TRASK TO WIN: With all due respect to Mercier and the rest of the Titans’ coaching staff, this could be a tough game in dealing with the loss due to illness of head coach Glenn Sellers. Truthfully, a lot depends on how the Trask players respond to that loss. Other than that, I am worried about whether the Titans’ defense can stop Midway. Offensively they can move the ball but they must avoid the turnovers and penalties that doomed them against Ashley.


WHERE & WHEN: At Pender High School, Burgaw, 7:30 p.m.

COACHES: Pender – Tony Hudson, 2nd year (4-10); Hobbton – Jeff Byrd.

SEASON’S RECORD: Pender is 1-2 after a 22-20 win over Topsail, a 41-18 loss to Whiteville, and a 21-16 loss to North Brunswick. Hobbton is 1-3 with an opening-game win over 0-4 Princeton (20-14), and consecutive losses to Fairmont (36-0), West Columbus (32-24), and North Duplin (42-7).

LAST PLAYED: Hobbton beat Pender 21-14 on Sept. 16, 2011.


NEXT GAME: Pender is at Union and Hobbton plays host to James Kenan.

KEY PLAYERS FOR HOBBTON: RB Rashad Davis, RB Charles Chestnut, K Eli Escalar.

KEY PLAYERS FOR PENDER: Soph. FB Sam Dixon, QB Nickey Wells, OL/DL Kymothy Murphy, OL/DL Jacob Dew, RB/LB Caleb Johnson, WR/S Rashawn Deloach, RB/CB Julius Powell, G/DE Zach Jones, T/DE Andre Donaldson

FOR HOBBTON TO WIN: Don’t want to jinx the Patriots but I don’t see it happening. Wildcats have given points in bunches (124) while scoring just 51 against four teams with a combined 6-10 record. To have any hope, Hobbton must shut down Dixon, keep the Pender option from getting outside, and force Wells into mistakes. Offensively must move the ball against a fairly-decent Patriots’ defense.

FOR PENDER TO WIN: Dixon, Dixon, and more Dixon until Hobbton proves it can stop him, then go outside with speed. Defensively just stay in their lanes and flow to the ball Hobbton does not have an omnipotent offense.


WHERE & WHEN: At North Duplin High School, Calypso, 7:30 p.m.

COACH: Dixon – Ray Swaney, 4th year (12-25); North Duplin – Hugh Martin.

SEASON’S RECORD: Dixon is 2-1 after wins over Princeton (24-20) and Mattamuskeet (34-0), and a 30-22 loss to Swansboro. North Duplin is 2-1 with wins over 2-2 Southside (48-14) and 1-3 Hobbton (42-7) around a 20-0 loss to 3-0 Lakewood.

NEXT GAME: Dixon play host to Spring Creek and North Duplin will be on the road at Lejeune.

LAST PLAYED: North Duplin beat Dixon 41-12 on Sept. 16, 2011.


KEY PLAYERS FOR NORTH DUPLIN: Sr. FB/LB Julio Mora, Sr. QB/DB Tyler Royal, K Antonio James.

KEY PLAYERS FOR DIXON: Sr. QB/S C. D. Hansley, Sr. C Travis Padgett, Sr. TE/DE Bryan Moore, Sr. T/DT Austin Rosensteel, Sr. DT Jake Strong, Sr. DT Eric Parker.

FOR NORTH DUPLIN TO WIN: Rebels can move the ball as evidenced by the fact they have put up 90 points in their two wins, albeit those two teams have a combine mark of 3-5. Mora is a good running back and he must be able to lead his team up and down the field against a better-than-average Dixon defense. Defensively the Rebels must contain Hansley and keep Dixon from sustaining long drives.

FOR DIXON TO WIN: Hey, I’m becoming a bit of a believer and this game could go a long way to propelling the Bulldogs to a good season. Record against the Rebels is not overly good the past few years. Hansley must run the offense precisely with no turnovers to keep a seemingly high-powered Rebels’ offense on the sidelines, and to do that the offensive line must have a very good day. Defensively let’s shut down Mora and the Rebels running game and see what Royal can do in the air.

13th Sep2012

Lady Bulldogs fall in five to Lady Cardinals

by Lee Wagner

JACKSONVILLE – The word that Dixon High School volleyball Coach Heather Moore used after Thursday night’s non-conference game at Jacksonville was, “Frustrating.”

It’s hard to decide if the frustration came from losing to a team the Lady Bulldogs had beaten 2-0 (25-16, 25-16) at the Battle of the Beach Tournament in Swansboro back in mid-August and 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-21) on Aug. 21 in a non-conference regular-season game in Holly Ridge, or if the frustration came from the sheer realization that her girls’ head were not in a somewhat meaningless game with a crucial Coastal Plains 1A Conference-opening game against Southwest Onslow on tap tonight.

Either way Moore was not a happy camper!

Senior Kelsey Pearce had 13 service points, four kills, 11 assists, an ace, and a block, classmate Allison Brown accounted for 13 points, four kills, eight aces, and a block, and Hannah Sorenson was a force at the net with seven points, eight kills, an assist, three aces, and a block but their combined efforts were still not enough to stave off defeat as Jacksonville gained a small measure of revenge on the two previous losses with a 3-2 (19-25, 18-25, 25-13, 25-18, 12-15) win over Dixon on Thursday on the Lady Cardinals’ home court.

Dixon dropped to 2-4 overall but Moore’s hope is they can put the pre-conference schedule – and certainly the loss to Jacksonville – in the rear-view mirror as they await the visit from conference foe, and contender, Southwest Onslow tonight.

“We struggled with consistent passing in the first game against a Jacksonville team that was much better that the last two times we saw them,” Moore said. “In both games one and two we had a hard time coming back from a hole we got ourselves in with numerous errors.

“The third and fourth games were much more intense as we focused on passing and talking on the court to bring things back to Dixon ball. Unfortunately in a short game to 15, with as many hitting errors as kills and numerous service errors, we were not able to pull it out.

“Our goal now is to focus on tomorrow. I told them when they left that they had to visualize what they needed to do tomorrow and not dwell on what happened today. Our goal now is to focus on a big game tomorrow. We are going to increase kills and service points and decrease errors to pull out a big win.”

If that type of confidence spills over to her players, than the Lady Stallions of SWO could be in for a long night.

Jacksonville (6-6) was solid in the opening game and in the second game as well, and combined with the poor passing and hitting errors of Dixon the Lady Cardinals prevailed with the game-clinching points in both of those games coming on Dixon hitting miscues.

Moore was animated in the team huddle between the second and third games, and the Lady Bulldogs responded. An ace by Sorenson and a kill by Alyssa Aquafredda put the finishing touches on a 12-point victory in the third game, and Dixon rode that momentum to a seven-point win in the third game – clinching the win on an ace by senior setter Kellie Peterson.

In the fifth and deciding game that goes to 15 points rather than the normal 25 Jacksonville took an early 4-0 lead. The Lady Bulldogs closed to within one at 7-6 on a kill by Sorenson. That lead stayed at one point for the Lady Cardinals before a three-point surge provided the hosts with a 13-9 advantage.

Dixon kept fighting and got to within two at 14-12 before a long serve that went out of bounds gave Jacksonville the game-clinching – and match-clinching – final point.

Dixon                   19-18-25-25-12

Jacksonville         25-25-13-18-15

Dixon: Hannah Sorenson 7 points, 8 kills, 1 assist, 3 aces, 1 block; Kelsey Pearce 13 points, 4 kills, 11 assists, 1 ace, 1 block; Allison Brown 13 points, 4 kills, 8 aces, 1 block; Miranda Davis 6 kills.

Jacksonville: Emily Rideout 7 kills, 4 aces, 15 digs; Kaiya Wallace 19 digs.

13th Sep2012

ESA ends competition season in North Topsail Beach

by Contributor

ESA/Central North Carolina ended its local competition season on Saturday, September 1, at Access 4 in North Topsail Beach.  Conditions were less than ideal with small knee to thigh waves.  Competitors performed well despite the lack of surf.  Many were anxious to complete the season then wait for the tropical swells that often grace us in September.

Stevie Pittman was the stand-out performer of the contest.  Just returned from a Hurley Surf Camp in California, Pittman executed turns as if he was in chest high surf.  He easily won his age group then went on to dominate the Open final.

Paul Poston also excelled in the small conditions winning both the Grandmasters and the Masters Longboard Divisions.

In the Novice Menehune Division (push in), three young surfers went wave for wave with each other.  Preston Walker emerged the champion in a very close final.

Team CNC will head to Nags Head, NC on September 16th to compete in the week-long ESA Eastern Surfing Championships.  There they will compete against the best surfers on the East Coast, Great Lakes and Gulf of Mexico.

Here are the results of Contest 6, sponsored by Nixon and Mike Connolly.


Novice Menehune                  2A Boys                      3A Boys                      3A Jr. Men

1.Preston Walker                     1. Bradley Rideout     1. Stevie Pittman         1. Mason O’Neal

2.Bentley Reese                      2. John Guarino           2. Ruffin Mancuso      2. Jared Stilley

3.Cooper Hanford                                                       3. Braden Munden      3. Thomas Horner

4.Hunter Draughon     4. Christian Norris

5. Blake Reese

6. Zach Crawford

3A Men                                  Masters                       Sr. Men                      Grandmasters

1.Cameron Privette                 1. Tate Hanford          1. Jerry Ennett             1. Paul Poston

2.Philip Rice                            2. Curtis Evans            2. Kiley Hanford         2. Phil Munden

3. Josh Bradley           3. Dan Brinson            3. Pem Mancuso

4.Nathan Eubanks

Legends                                  Girls                            Jr. Women                 Ladies           

1.Tim Nixon                            1. Sydney Pittman      1. Brook Reese            1. Beth Schub

2.Bruce Willis                                                             2. Brianna Balderson

3.David Sledge

4.Scott Rice


Menehune Longboard          Jr. Longboard           Men’s Longboard     Masters Longboard

1.Ruffin Mancuso                   1. Thomas Horner       1. Josh Bradley           1. Paul Poston

2.Hunter Draughon                 2. Christian Norris       2. Jimmy Cannette      2. Phil Munden

3.Braden Munden                                                       3. Philip Rice               3. Pem Mancuso

Legends Longboard              Jr. Womens Longboard                               Ladies Longboard

1.Bruce Willis                         1. Sydney Pittman                                          1. Beth Schub

2.Scott Rice                            2. Brook Reese

3.David Sledge                       3. Brianna Balderson

4.Tim Nixon

5.Bill Berry


Menehune Bodyboard          Open Shortboard      Open Longboard

1.John Guarino                        1. Stevie Pittman         1. Thomas Horner

2.Braden Munden                   2. Jared Stilley                        2.Scott Rice

3.Hunter Draughon                 3. Cameron Privett      3. David Sledge

4.Mason O’Neal          4. Ruffin Mancuso

5.Thomas Horner

6. Ruffin Mancuso

13th Sep2012

Morris steps down as Pirates’ baseball coach

by Lee Wagner

HAMPSTEAD – In a somewhat disappointing move to all involved in Topsail High School athletics in general, and the highly-successful baseball program in particular, Pirates’ Athletic Director B. J. Horne announced today that Ryan Morris has found it necessary to step down as the head baseball coach due to a potentially highly-successful business opportunity.

“When we (Morris and Horne) spoke a few weeks ago Ryan expressed the feeling he could work in his new endeavor and he could make coaching baseball work along with it,” Horne said. “But since then, in talking to his new employer (Edward Jones Investments) and to his wife, he felt he would not be able to give the kids the time that would be necessary for them to be successful, and that it wouldn’t be fair to the kids or the program to stay on.

“We met with him on Monday and that’s when he informed us and we met with the kids yesterday (Wednesday) at lunch time. We’re going to post the job and conduct interviews as soon as the opportunities present themselves but it’s going to be difficult to find someone this time of the year. We have a mathematics (teaching) opening right now but it will be difficult to find a baseball coach who can teach math and be willing to make the move at this time.”

Morris, who led the Pirates to an overall record of 20-5 and an East Central 2A Conference championship mark of 11-3 in his first, and only, year at the helm of the Pirates’ program, said it was an excruciating decision and the first time in his life he found it necessary to step away from the game of baseball, but it was a move he had to make.

“It was time to make a decision with a career choice that was best for my family in a great area where we hope to stay for a long time,” said Morris, who had been working as a teacher’s assistant in the Exceptional Children’s Program. “I will be getting my own branch with Edward Jones Investments in Hampstead. My intention all summer long was to continue to coach but in the last two weeks I realized how challenging it was going to be to get my business started.

“I also started thinking seriously about what affect it would have on my family. My wife has a very good job as an area supervisor for Pfeifer Pharmaceuticals where she travels a lot, and I just realized it was not going to work.”

Morris said that one of the main reasons he made the decision he did was that it wouldn’t be fair to the kids to not be able to give them the attention he would want for the program to continue to be successful.

“These kids deserve every ounce of energy that I have, and I was doubtful whether I could put enough energy in the program for it to be successful,” Morris said. “When I started doubting that commitment, I knew.

“All along I preached to the kids that whenever you do something, to be successful, you need to put every ounce of energy into it, and I live my life the same way. I told them I was not going to be able to give them what they needed. They were disappointed, I think, and at least no one cheered when we met.”

Morris said he very much appreciated the support he received from the administration, the parents, his coaches, and especially the kids.

“I would like to recognize the fact these kids were asked to do a very difficult thing last year with a change in the leadership of the program,” Morris said. “A lot of time, when faced with that type of change, you take a step back but this bunch did not do that, and I think that’s indicative of the fact this is a very special group. I will miss the game of baseball, and especially these players, very much but I feel in my heart it was the right thing to do at this time.”

Along with the search for a new baseball coach, Horne indicated they were on the brink of interviewing applicants for the recently-vacated girls’ basketball coaching position that opened when former Coach Sarah Graves left to take a job at Forrest Hills Elementary School in Wilmington – less than five minutes from her home.

12th Sep2012

Lady Titans continue winning ways with 3-0 win over Union

by Lee Wagner

ROCKY POINT – The Lady Spartans of Union High School came to Titantown yesterday in an attempt to right a ship that has spiraled from a team that is usually in contention for a conference title to a team that arrived with an overall record of 2-8 that included a 0-4 mark in the tri-County 1A Conference.

The team they were facing, of course, was the home-town Lady Titans, a program that has not –over the past few seasons –been a threat for the conference crown.

But in a role reversal that is becoming more and more pronounced as the girls from Trask moved through the season, it was the home team that left the gymnasium with smiles on their faces, and the visiting squad that left still trying to find a way to end their quandary.

Senior Anna Brodmerkel was superb with 25 service points that included nine aces – adding eight assists, 2 kills, and four digs – and Quaneisha James was the happy recipient of many of those assists, along with many of the nine assists from Becca Alvis, as she responded with 16 kills as Trask demolished Union 3-0 (25-13, 25-13, 25-4) on Tuesday in a Tri-County 1A Conference volleyball game on the Lady Titans home court.

Trask improved to 5-4 overall and to a healthy 4-1 in the conference as they await the arrival of the very beatable Lady Tigers of James Kenan for another conference tilt tomorrow (Thursday).

“The chemistry on the floor is something a lot of teams don’t have,” Brodmerkel said. “We hang together outside of volleyball and we make the effort off the court to make it a cohesive group on the floor. We know we don’t have any superstars but we have a lot of heart, and we’re very motivated.”

It looked like they might not be as motivated as the Lady Spartans in the opening game as Union used a six-point spurt to take an early 6-2 lead. But the Lady Titans’ heart began to take form from there. After an exchange of points that left Trask on top by the scantiest of margins at 8-7, Chrishonda Brown took over the serve and fueled a 10-0 run that left the Lady Titans in total charge at 18-7.

Brown had a trio of aces in the run, and Katelyn Andreassan, Kassidy Tyer, and Alvis had kills during the outburst, and the Lady Titans cruised from there.

In the second game, the Lady Titans left little doubt as to who was in charge as they vaulted to an early 7-2 lead before increasing it to 10-6 with a three-point splurge. Leading 21-13 late, Alvis was on serve and a kill by Lataysha James aided a game-ending, four-point spurt.

The third game is where Brodmerkel – who had a combined 10 service points in the first two games – took over. The Lady Titans were on top at 6-3 when Brodmerkel went back to serve, and they led 21-5 after a remarkable 15-point outburst that was highlighted by five aces from their senior leader, and a pair of kills by Quaneisha James.

A four-pointer with kills by James and Brodmerkel ended the game, and the match.

“I was just making sure I didn’t make any bad serves but a lot of the credit has to go to my teammates. You don’t get serving runs like that unless everyone on the floor is doing their jobs.”

Trask Coach Karen Byrd said, while this team may not have that single so-called superstar, they work hard, listen well, and work well together.

“I’ve loved working with this group of girls,” Byrd said. “Everything I have asked them to do, they’ve done it. They don’t worry about who is getting the points, they just support each other and work so hard, and I couldn’t be happier or more proud of them.

“I know we still have a long way to go but if they keep working like they have so far we might just find ourselves getting one of those valued playoff spots.”

Union              13-13- 4

Trask              25-25-25

Trask: Anna Brodmerkel 25 service points, 9 aces, 8 assists, 2 kills, 4 digs; Quaneisha James 16 kills; Chrishonda Brown 2 aces; Becca Alvis 2 kills, 9 assists, 1 block; Katelyn Andreassan 1 kill, 1 dig; Kassidy Tyer 3 kills, 11 digs; Kyli Huff 1 kill, 2 blocks, 1 assist, 1 dig; Rebecca Cooper 5 digs; Lataysha Jame 1 kill.

Union: Jasmine Brown 3 kills; Kierra Cherry 2 kills, 1 ace; Lauren Preddy 4 kills; Erica West 1 kill; Michala Robinson 1 kill; Taylor Malpass 1 kill.

12th Sep2012

Lady Pirates bounce back with another conference win

by Lee Wagner

CLINTON – The Topsail High School volleyball team had a rough time of it on Monday at Laney but when it all comes to fruition at the end of the season the game they played on Monday will have a great deal more significance that any non-conference (and there are no more scheduled) game they will play – at least until the end of conference play.

While the loss to the Lady Buccaneers indicates the play in the Mid-Eastern Conference next year will probably be more competitive, and more difficult, that is a story – and a worry – for another day.

For now, the concentration is on games in the East Central 2A Conference, and the young ladies in the black, white, & gold uniforms with the word Topsail on the front are well aware of that, and – so far – they are taking care of business where it is needed.

Senior setter Angie Poage had 15 service points, 15 assists, three kills, nine aces, and five digs, and five Lady Pirates had two kills or more as Topsail rolled to a relatively easy 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-15) road conference win over Clinton on Tuesday.

Topsail ran its overall record to 9-3 and its conference mark to 4-0 as it attempts to finish a third-straight unbeaten conference campaign in their final year as a 2A school, and as a member of the East Central 2A Conference. Clinton fell to 0-7 overall, and 0-4 in conference play.

“Clinton came out on the attack and got a quick 4-0 lead but we regrouped quickly,” Topsail Coach Hill Pearsall said. “Everyone played and contributed in the win. What we were missing in our losses to (4A) Ashley and (4A) Laney were big scoring runs by our servers and we did that well against Clinton.

“It was a nice game for us to regroup and get ready for the middle of the conference schedule.”

That upcoming schedule lists a pair of home games, one on Thursday against Croatan (3-4, 1-2) and one on Tuesday (Sept. 18) against Richlands (0-8, 0-4) before the Lady Pirates end the first half of the conference schedule with a visit to Swansboro (5-3, 4-0) on Thursday, Sept. 20.

Topsail            25-25-25

Clinton           16-16-15

Topsail: Kayla Hyatt 2 points, 2 kills, 1 block, 2 digs; Reagan Holloway 6 points, 2 kills, 5 digs; Sarah Woodward 4 points, 3 digs; Angie Poage 15 points, 15 assists, 3 kills, 9 aces, 5 digs; Carlie Smith 8 point, 12 kills, 5 digs, 1 block; Jenna Register 2 assists; Summer Darnell 2 points, 6 kills, 4 digs; Chandler Skipper 6 digs.

12th Sep2012

Illness sends Sellers to bench at Trask

by Lee Wagner

ROCKY POINT – In a surprising announcement made by Trask High School Athletics’ Director Ed Gilroy on Thursday, Trask head football Coach Glenn Sellers has stepped down for the remainder of the year for health reasons.

“The doctor told him that he has to take care of himself and that’s what he is going to do,” said Gilroy of the temporary resignation that takes effective immediately. “Glenn met with (Principal) Dr. (Steven) Sullivan and I this morning, and we agree and wholeheartedly support his decision.”

Sellers said he hopes his resignation is a temporary one, and that his intention is to return to coaching next school year. Sellers will continue with his teaching duties at Trask.

“I’m just having some health issues and I was pretty much told by my doctor I needed to back off and take care of the things that needed to be taken care of, and that’s what I’m doing,” Sellers said. “I’ve got to take care of myself and do what is best for my family. I’ll still be teaching and I’ll still be around the guys. I’m just going to step down, take a year off, reassess, and we’ll go from there.”

In the absence of Sellers, Gilroy announced that long-time teacher, track coach, and assistant football Coach Bill Mercier will serve as the interim head coach.

“Bill has been an assistant football coach at Pender and here at Trask for a lot of years and we felt, for the continuity and cohesiveness of the program, that he was the best choice,” he said.

Mercier said Dr. Sullivan and Coach Gilroy approached him after their meeting with Sellers, and asked if he would assume the position as interim coach.

“They asked me, gave me the choice, and I wanted to be there for the kids, to keep the continuity, and to help them have the best year they can have,” Mercier said. “You don’t get into coaching, or teaching, for yourself so it (the decision) was a no-brainer for me.

“I have no plans to make any drastic changes. I’ve coached defense in the past but not at Trask, and I see no reason to change that philosophy. Glenn and I kind of grew up together as coaches and even if I was a new coach I’d still run the same offense and keep the same philosophy. Glenn has a chance to come back next year, and that’s what everyone wants and is hoping for, and we’re going to go forward on the same path we have been on.”

The Titans open the Tri-County 1A Conference part of their schedule this Friday (Sept. 14) when the play host to the Raiders of Midway. Game time in Titantown is 7:30 p.m.

12th Sep2012

Lady Patriots prove to be inhospitable hostesses

by Lee Wagner

BURGAW – The welcoming home party for former Pender High School volleyball Coach Ray Horton – now an assistant helping out at Wallace-Rose Hill – quickly ceased to be a celebration of the past for a coach who led the Lady Patriots to back-to-back NCHSAA 1A state championships but more of a look into both the present and the future as the girls in the red, white, & blue uniforms sent the Lady Bulldogs back to Teachey with the understanding they are still a long way from being among the conference’s elite.

But now that another of the Tri-County 1A Conference’s lesser teams has been rapidly disposed of by the Lady Patriots there is some serious business at hand on Thursday when the only other true contender for the conference crown – Lakewood – finds its way to Burgaw, and it is a sure thing it will be a lot more competitive – and interesting – that last night’s match.

Seniors Kayvia Thompson (5) and K. B. Hansley (6) combined for 11 kills, sophomore Brianna Pittman added four kills and turned away five Lady Bulldog hits, and standout junior setter Jackie Sanabria had 16 assists and five aces as Pender defeated Wallace-Rose Hill 3-0 (25-4, 25-12, 25-15) on Tuesday in a Tri-County 1A Conference volleyball game on the Ray Horton Volleyball Court.

Pender improved to 8-4 and 5-0 in the conference as they await the arrival on Thursday of the Lady Leopards of Lakewood (10-0, 5-0).

“I really liked the intensity that we came out with and the focus that we had throughout the night,” Pender Coach Matt Davis said. “When it looked as if our focus might crack after a missed serve or a bad pass the girls bounced back with a kill or an ace.  We were able to keep the ball off the floor real well tonight and we adjusted to various combinations of players better that we have the rest of the year.”

The first game started with a quick serving run behind junior Cassidy Miller that led to a 4-0 lead. After it looked like Wallace would try to make a game of it with two points to close to within two at 4-2, Thompson responded with a kill to make it 5-2 before embarking on a nine-point serving run that increased the Lady Patriots’ lead to 14-2.

After a tip at the net gave the Lady Bulldogs a point (14-3) Sanabria took over the service and ignited another long run that included four aces to lead Pender to an insurmountable 22-3 advantage en route to the 21-point, first-game victory.

Davis began substituting freely after that first game, utilizing second-team setter Katy Steward and junior-varsity setter Alli Crist most of the way. Ruby Gasca helped things along with a long serving run of eight points that included three aces, and Thompson and Hansley had solid games with three kills each. Meghan Cleary came off the bench to add two kills and Amber Plyand provided some solid back-line passing as Pender won by 13 points to take a two-games-to-none lead.

The third game pretty much mirrored the second game with Alyssa Carter holding the hot hand on serve, Journey Knowles coming in and altering Wallace hits, and Hannah Peterson giving her team extended time on the floor with good passing. Brenee’ Jones also had a good third game with some smart plays and good leadership in keeping everyone on the same page.

WRH                4-12-15

Pender            25-25-25

Pender: Kayvia Thomson 5 kills, 1 block 3 aces; K B. Hansley 6 kills, 1 assist, 1 ace, 2 digs; Brenee’ Jones 1 kill; Ruby Gasca 1 ace; Jackie Sanabria 1 assists, 5 aces; Alyssa Carter 2 kills, 1 ace; Brianna Pittman 4 kills, 5 blocks; Cassidy Miller 3 aces, 2 dig; Meghan Cleary 2 kills; Katy Stewart assist, 1 block, 2 aces; Alysa Bryant 1 kill.

11th Sep2012

Lady Bulldogs take out Swansboro in three games

by Lee Wagner

HOLLY RIDGE – It’s hard to decide if what happened in yesterday’s volleyball game at Dixon High School between the Lady Bulldogs and the Lady Pirates of 2A Swansboro is an upset or just a sign that this edition of Dixon volleyball is that good, but whatever it is it’s a good prelude to what is coming up the rest of the week – especially Thursday – and if nothing else an effort like the one put forth by the girls in the maroon uniforms can serve as a confidence builder.

Senior Hannah Sorenson had five service points, 12 kills, and a block, and classmate Kelsey Pearce continued her fine play after returning from an injury with five assists, four kills, and a pair of blocks as Dixon defeated Swansboro 3-0 (25-12, 25-19, 25-14) on Monday in a non-conference volleyball game at Dixon.

The win puts the Lady Bulldogs overall record at 2-3 and takes some of the sting out of a disappointing effort in a loss to 4A Laney last Wednesday. Now Dixon must build on the victory with a game tomorrow (Wednesday) at Jacksonville against a Lady Cardinals team they defeated 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-21) on Aug. 21, and – the big one – a visit from Southwest Onslow on Thursday in the Lady Bulldogs’ Coastal Plains 1A Conference opener.

“I am pleased with the outcome against Swansboro,” Dixon senior hitter Miranda Davis said. “I feel like our passes were on and that gave us chances to do good things offensively. I’m really looking forward to Wednesday’s game at Jacksonville and then playing Southwest Onslow at our place on Thursday.”

Dixon got a quick start against the Lady Pirates (4-3, 3-0) of the East Central 2A Conference by jumping out to a 7-2 lead behind a pair of big hits from Sorenson. The closest that Swansboro got after that was three (twice) at 10-7 and 11-8 before Sorenson put game one in Dixon’s win column with a kill.

Swansboro was the early aggressor in the second game as they vaulted out to a 5-2 advantage but Dixon rallied to grab the lead at 7-6 – a lead the Lady Bulldogs would never relinquish -  before a six-point outburst helped create a 19-12 lead. Again Sorenson came up big with a game-ending kill, producing a 2-0 Dixon advantage.

Senior Allison Brown was the instigator of a 5-2 Dixon lead in the third game with three aces. Swansboro recovered to close to with two at 7-5 but that would be their last hurrah as the Lady Bulldogs exploded for 14 of the next 22 points scored in the game to all but put the game out of reach. Davis put the game and the match on the winning side of the lady Bulldogs’ ledger with a game-ending ace.

Swansboro     12-19-14

Dixon              25-25-25

Dixon: Kelsey Pearce 5 assists, 4 kills, 2 blocks; Hannah Sorenson 5 service points, 12 kills, 12 block; Caitlin Trexel 15 points, 1 aces, 1 kill; Allison Brown 13 points, 9 aces, 1 kill.

Swansboro: Bailey Rabidou 11 assists; Cleve 6 digs.

11th Sep2012

Lady Pirates fall to 4A Lady Bucs

by Lee Wagner

WILMINGTON – What happened Monday night on the Fred Lynch & Ruby Sutton Court in the Michael Jordan Gymnasium on the campus of Laney High School – if you are a fan of Topsail volleyball – can best be described as, “ugly,” but sometimes these things are going to happen, you just don’t expect them to happen in this way to the Lady Pirates.

To describe the play of the Topsail girls as lethargic would be a little too rough, perhaps better to say it just appeared that their hearts weren’t completely in a non-conference game against a 4A opponent with a pair of important East Central 2A Conference games on tap Tuesday and Thursday.

Best idea is to go with that, and leave this one wallow deep in the rearview mirror.

Senior Carlie Smith had five service points, 14 kills, five blocks,, and 20 digs, and classmate Angie Poage had three points, 22 assists, 2 kills, a block, and 17 digs but it was not enough to hold off the high-powered hitting and solid defense of the Lady Buccaneers as Laney defeated Topsail 3-0 (17-25, 16-25, 23-25) on Monday at Laney.

The loss dropped the Lady Pirates overall record to 8-3 but kept intact their perfect 3-0 conference mark with a conference road game tonight (Tuesday) at Clinton (0-7, 0-3) and a home conference match on Thursday against Croatan (3-3, 1-1).

“We passed poorly off the back line and off our pass/receive,” Topsail Coach Hill Pearsall said. “The reason we stayed close in the third game was our passing was better. “We didn’t miss too many serves but give credit to Laney, they dug out our hits.”

All night long the Lady Buccaneer players dug out hits, many of them boomers, and got the ball to the front line so Anna (17 assists) and Rosie (14 assists) Faddoul could take turns setting up hitters Karly Shanahan (12 kills), Kelli Gottry (9 kills), and Leigh Williams (7 kills) for big hits that more than often resulted in Laney points.

The Lady Buccaneers also did a great job of preventing Topsail from going on any long runs, traditionally a Lady Pirates’ trademark. Topsail had one three-point run in the first game that tied the score at 9-9 before Laney gradually pulled away with runs of three, four, and – finally – four more with a kill by the talented junior Shanahan ending Laney’s eight-point, first-game victory.

Topsail led 9-7 in the second game before Laney tied the score at 9-9 on a kill by Gottry, and it was pretty much all Lady Buccaneers from there (again). The game-tying kill by Gottry was the second point in a seven-point outburst that gave Laney control of the game with a kill by Lillian Donovan finishing off the Lady Buccaneers’ nine-point win.

Again, the Lady Pirates were ineffective in putting any long runs together with an early three-pointer and a pair of two-point spurts their longest service holds.

Topsail was much more together in the third game with their back-line passing, doing a better job in getting the ball to Poage for sets. Smith had seven of her 14 kills in the third game – the final two staking the Lady Pirates to a late 22-21 advantage.

A ball hit out of bounds by Topsail (one of 28 unforced errors by the Lady Pirates in the match) tied the game at 22-22 but a ball into the net and a kill by Anna Faddoul put Laney on top at 24-22. A kill by Lacey Akerley got Topsail to within one at 24-23 but a kill by Jillian Ross – her only big hit of the match – ended the third game and gave the Lady Buccaneers the sweep.

Topsail            17-16-23

Laney             25-25-25

Topsail: Carlie Smith 5 points, 14 kills, 5 blocks, 20 digs; Lacey Akerley 4 points, 1 kill, 1 ace, 7 digs; Reagan Holloway 1 point, 7 kills, 3 digs; Summer Darnell 4 points, 4 kills, 3 digs; Kayla Hyatt 2 points, 5 kills, 3 blocks, 1 assist, 3 digs; Angie Poage 3 points, 22 assists, 2 kills, 1 block, 17 digs; Chandler Skipper 7 digs; Sammi Proulx 3 digs.

Laney: Karly Shanahan 12 kills; Paulette Addison 5 kills; Anna Faddoul 9 kills, 17 assists, 10 digs, 1 ace; Kelli Gottry 9 kills, 3 aces, 7 digs; Leigh Williams 7 kills, 3 digs; Victoria Jones 1 ace, 12 digs; Rosie Faddoul 14 assists, 2 kills; Lillian Donovan 1 kill; Jillian Born 5 digs, 1 kill.