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.

10th Sep2012

Nobody asked me, but…Whatever happened to
balance in the NFL?

by Lee Wagner

HAMPSTEAD – Nobody asked me, but………..What in the name of Slingin’ Sammy Baugh is happening in the National football League?

Back in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s they gave Washington Redskins Quarterback Sammy Baugh the nickname, “Slingin” because he filled the airway with up to 12-15 passes in a game at a time when passing the ball was still a fairly new art as the drifted away from the old single-wing (they call it the “Wildcat” now and they think it’s a new invention) offense where they snapped the ball directly to the tailback.

But in the 10 National Football League games Sunday quarterbacks put the ball up in the air an astonishing 720 times, completing 434 passes for an astronomical 5,067 yards.

HUH??? There was a time in the not-too-distant past when balance was the byword in what may soon be referred to as “The National Fling-It League,” where all the so-called experts said the only way an offense could be successful was a balanced offense between the pass and the run to keep opposing defenses off balance.

My guess is not any more. The 10 teams that played yesterday ran the ball a combined 521 times. Heck, yesterday there were 284 incomplete passes, and that’s not including Wednesday’s game between Dallas and the New York Giants, nor does it obviously include tonight’s two games between Cincinnati and Baltimore or between San Diego and Oakland.

Only one team – the Washington Redskins – ran the ball more than 40 (44) times in the game, and in keeping with the old theory that balance wins games, they surprisingly defeated the New Orleans Saints behind the outstanding play of rookie QB Robert Griffin, III., who was 19-for-26 for 320 yards passing with two touchdown passes and zero interceptions. Griffin carried the ball 10 times for 42 yards rushing in helping the Redskins amass 153 yards on the ground.

Of the 20 teams that played on Sunday, 11 of them ran for 100 yards, and seven of them – San Francisco, N. Y. Jets, Minnesota, Washington, New England, Philadelphia, and Chicago – won, so maybe there is still something to that balance theory.

What amazes me just as much is there were 28 interceptions thrown in the 10 games. Now, with five rookie quarterbacks starting and nearly as many second-year QB’s on the firing line, you might say that was expected.

But of the 28 interceptions, Philadelphia’s Michael Vick threw four, Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick three, and Detroit’s Matt Stafford threw three. Also throwing picks
were veterans John Skelton (Arizona), Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay), Mark Sanchez (Jets), New Orleans’ Drew Brees (2), K. C.’s Matt Cassell (2), Jake Locker (Minnesota),and Jay Cutler of Chicago.

That’s 19 of the 28 picks. The rookies, you might ask – Russell Wilson (Seattle) had one and RG III had none. Tannehill went up against a pretty good Houston defense and threw three, Andrew Luck (Indianapolis) threw three against the Bears defense, and Brandon Weeden (Cleveland) threw three against a pretty good Philadelphia Eagles defense.

Former Ohio State Coach Woody Hayes was a proponent of the run game, so much so that they said his offense was, “Three yards and a cloud of dust.” Hayes also said there were three things that could happen when you threw the football, and two of the results (incompletions and interceptions) were bad.

No wonder Hayes won a lot of football games.

I guess the game is more exciting for fans when teams fill the airways with the football, and big pass plays result in spectacular touchdowns, but I – for one – still think balance is the better way to go.

That’s what I think, what do you think?

Nobody ask me but………..Let me start off by saying I honestly do not know if Lance Armstrong took drugs or not. That said, according to all I have read Armstrong passed hundreds of drug tests as proof – I think – of his innocence during his extraordinary run of tour titles from 1999-2005.

Now, according to our legal system, “You are considered innocent until proven guilty.” If Armstrong did take hundreds of drug tests and if he passed them all, can someone explain to me how the U. S. Doping Agency says it will strip Armstrong of his unprecedented seven Tour De France titles just because he said he was tired of fighting charges that threatened his legacy.

“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough,’ and for me that time is now, Armstrong said in an interview with the Associated Press. “The toll this has taken on my family and my work for our foundation, and on me leads me to where I am today – finished with all this nonsense.”

Hey, I agree with the guy! The USADA contends that Armstrong used banned substances as far back as 1996 to boost his performance. Included in the USADA’s alleged evidence was a letter from Armstrong’s former U. S. Postal teammate Floyd Landis who was stripped of his 2006 Tour De France title after a positive drug test.

So, let me understand this, Landis gets caught and does not have a leg to stand on, is stripped of his title, and then decides to say the whole team had, “A complex doping program.” The USADA also alleges 10 of Armstrong’s teammates are willing to testify against him but other than Landis and Tyler Hamilton, who also admitted to drug offenses, no one else has come forward.

Hmmmmmmm!

Here’s my thought – Lance Armstrong is the greatest cyclist ever, and he is a champion, a winner of seven Tour De France titles and, until you prove it to me otherwise, back off and leave the man alone and let him and his foundation continue to raise money for testicular cancer research.

That’s what I think, what do you think?

Nobody ask me but……….Hey, if you are a fan of high school sports in Pender County and Southern Onslow County, this could be a pretty good week for you, if you are interested.

Starting up in Onslow County, the Dixon volleyball team has a non-conference home game tonight against a pretty good 2A Swansboro team, and an away game on Wednesday at 3A Jacksonville. But the big test is Thursday when the Lady Bulldogs welcome Southwest Onslow to Holly Ridge for a Coastal Plains 1A Conference game that could – even this early in the year – go a long way to deciding the conference title.

And, hey, how about that 2-1 Bulldogs’ football team that is headed to Duplin County for a non-conference game against North Duplin in an attempt to go to 3-1. It’s been quite a while since a Dixon football team was 3-1, so it might be worth the trip.

Pender fans have a lot riding on this week, too, as the Lady Patriots’ volleyball team welcomes Wallace-Rose Hill to Burgaw on Tuesday and brings Lakewood to town on Thursday.

Now the truth is Wallace is not good enough (on paper) to beat Pender but coming in with the Lady Bulldogs is former Pender Coach Ray Horton, who is serving as an assistant with Wallace. Just for fun, they will be playing on the Ray Horton Volleyball Court, which Pender named after Horton when he retired in 2010 after back-to-back NCHSAA 1A state titles.

Now Thursday is a horse of a different color as the Lady Leopards of Lakewood come to town. They are probably the biggest – and maybe the only – threat that could stand in the way of the Lady Patriots in their quest for a Tri-County 1A Conference crown.

And the Patriot team tries to get back on the winning track with a conference home game against Hobbton on Friday.

Down on the east side of Pender County, the Lady Pirates’ volleyball team travels to 4A Laney tonight for what should be a heck of a match before playing a conference  game at Clinton on Monday and another at home against Croatan on Thursday.

And what about Topsail’s East Central 2A Conferfence football opening game against 4-0 Northside at 7:30 p.m. on Friday in Hampstead? Now that should be a heck of a football game!

Get out and support your neighborhood schools and the fine young people who work so hard.

That’s what I think, what do you think?

09th Sep2012

Pirates’ offense shreds Ashley’s defense
en route to 26-7 win

by Lee Wagner

WILMINGTON – If you are familiar with Ashley High School Coach Tom Eanes you know he seldom makes excuses when his team loses and, after Friday night’s dominant loss to Topsail on the Screaming Eagles’ home field, Eanes was very up front about what just happened.

“No excuses, they came out and outplayed us, outhustled us, and outcoached us,” Eanes said. “I have the utmost respect for (Topsail’s Bryan) Coach Davis and he definitely had his kids more ready to play than we did. In every facet of the game they were better than us tonight.”

Pretty right to the point, and right on the mark as the Pirates of Topsail High School dominated just about every phase of the game in recording an impressive win over a 4A school in a conference that the Pirates will be joining next school year.

Guess they wanted to make a point, and they certainly did!

Senior Devin Williams finally got to play a full game after sitting out most of the first two games with an injury and he responded with 188 yards on 20 carries (9.4 yards-per-carry) while finding the end zone twice, and the staunch make-shift Pirates’ defense took care of the rest as Topsail raced to a 26-7 win over Ashley on Friday in a non-conference football game in Wilmington.

Topsail improved to 2-1 on the early season while Ashley fell to 1-3.

“Not one of the kids on the offensive line played in the same position they did two weeks ago due to injury or illness, and they did a magnificent job,” Davis said. “I really didn’t know how this was going to turn out, and I admit I was a bit worried. But we had such a good week of practice, they practiced so doggone well and so hard, I had a good feeling and they exceeded anything I could have hoped for.

“It makes me feel good about the rest of the year. What has happened is we have found some depth, and when we get everyone back and healthy it will be interesting to see.”

Part of the hype coming into the game in some of the area newspapers was how the Pirates would handle Ashley’s two-headed offense monster of fullback Quincy Rhodes and quarterback Chris Kane. Rhodes had 295 yards on 23 carries and Kane had 123 yards on 16 carries last week in a 42-14 win over Trask, but the Topsail defense did a great job of slowing Rhodes down on the inside and putting the reins on Kane’s outside and inside runs out of the triple-option offense, and both Screaming Eagles’ players were outshone by their Topsail counterparts.

Rhodes finished with 94 yards on 11 carries but 68 of those yards came on four carries – 25, 10, 18, and 15 – and he was kept out of the end zone the entire evening. Kane finished with six yards on 11 carries, was sacked twice for losses totaling 10 yards, and finished the night 0-for-4 in the passing category.

Williams had 188 yards running and Topsail’s outstanding sophomore quarterback Austin Schoenleber racked up 105 yards on 4-of-7 passing including a perfect over-the shoulder throw to senior wide-out Palmer Rice that resulted in a 47-yard scoring play.

“I didn’t pay any attention to any of the hype, I just had to keep my mind on what I had to do, stay focused, and follow the blocks of the guys up front,” said Williams, who Davis said is, ‘About 80 percent.’ “I love my offensive line. They’re my brothers and I just followed them.’

Topsail wasted little time in showing the Eagles they meant business as they took the opening kickoff and moved 63 yards on nine plays before the drive stalled when Schoenleber was sacked on third down from the Ashley eight-yard line. That brought senior kicker Alex Webster onto the field and he immediately atoned for a rough week two weeks ago in a 22-20 loss to Pender by drilling a 30-yard field goal directly down the middle of the goal posts – a kick that probably went another 12-18 yards after it split the uprights – to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead just 3:41 into the game.

It took Topsail one play to make it 10-0 when they took over on the Ashley 47-yard line after a punt. Schoenleber calmly waited until Rice had cleared the defender and laid a perfect throw over Rice’s right shoulder that he caught on a dead run around the 23-yard line before racing untouched into the end zone with 3:30 remaining in the first quarter.

That 10-point advantage stayed in place until late in the first half when Topsail recovered a muffed punt before moving 58 yards on four plays to make it 17-0. After Schoenleber lost five yards, Williams had a 36-yard run, Hunter Jacobs had a seven-yard run, and Williams had a 15-yard scamper to finish off the drive with just 85 ticks left on the first-half clock.

After Ashley went three-and-out to start the second half, Topsail and Williams put the Screaming Eagles on the short end of a 24-0 score with a two-play, 73-yard drive. William gained 10 yards on his first carry of the drive, and broke several tackles before a block by Jacobs set him free on a 63-yard scoring jaunt 2:58 into the second half.

Earlier Williams had flattened an Ashley defender on a 17-yard run by Jacobs, and later Jacobs ended Topsail’s scoring when he tackled Screaming Eagle Khaleel Truesdale in the end zone for a safety – and a 26-0 Topsail lead – with 3:00 left in the third quarter.

Ashley did break into the scoring column with 8:00 left in the game when backup quarterback Malik Amos bolted up the middle against the Topsail second-team defense for 29 yards and a touchdown but it was definitely too little, too late.

Ashley did finish with 229 yards rushing and 40 yards passing (all by Amos against the second defense of Topsail) but 123 of those yards came on six plays, and 125 of the yards cam against Topsail’s second-team defense.

“Against the option you have to account for everyone and you want to match up four or five defenders to three offensive players,” Davis said. “We knew we had to limit No. 3 and we wanted to see if the quarterback would hurt us and, if he didn’t, we wanted him pitching it to the halfbacks and let them beat us. Not until we were midway through the third quarter did we line up in the same defense twice.”

Leading the way defensively for Topsail was senior linebacker Mason Kimmel, who finished the game with 12 tackles.

“All week in practice we worked on the mindset of stopping No. 3 (Rhodes) and we felt if we did that we’d win,” Kimmel said. “We felt we had to limit him and No. 16 (Kane). The coaches did an excellent job of preparing us for this game.”

Topsail returns to Hampstead next Friday where they will open play in the East Central 2A Conference against Jacksonville-Northside. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Northside is 4-0 with a 35-0 win over White Oak, a 26-0 win over West Craven, a 12-0 win over Jacksonville, and a 34-21 win over Wilson-Fike – four teams with a combined record of 5-10 with Jacksonville owning three of those wins.

Topsail            10-7-9-0=26

Ashley               0-0-0-7=  7

First Quarter

Topsail – Alec Webster 30-yard Field Goal, 8:09

Topsail – Palmer Rice 47 pass from Austin Schoenleber (Alec Webster kick), 3:30

Second Quarter

Topsail – Devin Williams 15 run (Alec Webster kick), 1:25

Third Quarter

Topsail – Devin Williams 63 run (Alec Webster kick), 9:02

Topsail – Safety – Hunter Jacobs tackled Ashley runner in end zone, 3:00

Fourth Quarter

Ashley – Malik Amos 29 run (Cameron Cairney kick), 8:00

Team Statistics:     Topsail     Ashley

First Downs                15            15

Rushing                     39-287     42-229

Passing                      4-7-105     2-11-40

Penalties                    10-65         11-60

Fumbles/Lost              1/0            4/2

Punts                           3-99        5-151

Individual Statistics: Rushing – Topsail: Devin Williams 20-188, Wayland Batson 3-44, Hunter Jacobs 5-41, Addison Futrell 1-4, Derrick Session 1-1. Ashley: Quincy Rhodes 11-94, Anthony Andrews 9-54, Malik Amos 7-49, Trey Eller 4-15, Jesse Jewell 2-11, Chris Kane 11-6. Passing – Topsail: Austin Schoenleber 4-7-107. Ashley: Chris Kane 0-4-0, Malik Amos 2-7-40. Receiving – Topsail: Palmer Rice 1-47, Hunter Jacobs 2-32, Addison Futrell 1-26. Ashley: Keegan Haugle 2-40. Defense – Topsail: Mason Kimmel 12 tackles, Jakeem Smith 6 tackles, Trevor Savidge 4 tackles, Scott Houghteling 3 tackles, 1 sack, Zack Rosenberg 3 tackles, pass knockdown, Addison Futrell 3 tackles, Palmer Rice 3 tackles, Hunter Jacobs 3 tackles, safety.

08th Sep2012

Dixon roars back, but falls to Swansboro

by Ken Clarke

DIXON – Poised to tie the game late in the fourth quarter Dixons hope for a comeback was dosed when Swansboro came up with an interception to seal the 30-22 win.

The Bulldogs started the game on a high note when Malik Simmons scored in the first quarter on a 35-yard run. A missed extra point gave Dixon an early 6-0 lead, but Swansboro quickly answered back on the very next possession. The Pirates drove the ball to the 10-yard line before punching it in for a touchdown. A two point conversion put Swansboro on top 8-6.

Dixon came back and after a drive stalled near the 10 the Bulldogs missed a 20 yard field goal to take the lead. Swansboro took over at their own 20 and but down and distance wasn’t a problem as they broke free on an 80 yard run for a score. A converted two points made it 16-6.

Swansboro seemed poised to poor on the points as they scored again at the midway point in the second quarter to make it a 24-6 game, but before the end of the half Dixon put together an impressive drive that included two fourth down conversions before putting the ball in the end zone with just five seconds remaining in the half. A two point conversion made it a 24-14 game.

The third quarter was tight until Swansboro broke out on a 70 yard touchdown run to make the score 30-14.

In the fourth Dixon continued to fight and with less than four minutes remaining in the game when senior quarterback C.D. Hansley connected with Tyler Ross for a 55-yard touchdown pass. A two point conversion made it an eight point game.

The Bulldogs recovered the onside kick but turned the ball over on downs at midfield.

Down but not out Dixon got another chance when they recovered a Swansboro fumble, but with a little more than a minute remaining in the game Hansley was picked off and Swansboro was able to run the clock out.

Next week Dixon will be on the road against North Duplin.

07th Sep2012

Lady Titans humble Hobbton improve to 3-1 in conference

by Lee Wagner

ROCKY POINT – Recent history has not been especially kind to the Trask High School volleyball team but this 2012 edition of Lady Titans’ volleyball seems determined to write a new chapter in Titantown.

Entering the season the Lady Titans were without the experience of the Southeastern North Carolina High School Summer volleyball League, had very few numbers on the varsity, and were definitely missing that one big hitter that has been tied to successful teams on the volleyball court.

True, there have been a couple of early matches – Wilmington Christian Academy and Lakewood come to mind – where the Lady Titans have been overmatched in talent and size, but that has definitely not been a deterrent in the rest of the matches as they are making John Wayne proud with their own version of, “True Grit.”

Anna Brodmerkel continued her fine early-season play with 15 service points, four aces, and five assists, and Quaneisha James had six kills and six points as Trask defeated Hobbton 3-0 (26-24, 25-20, 25-17) on Thursday in a Tri-County 1A Conference volleyball game in Rocky Point.

The win evened the Lady Titans’ overall record at 4-4 and improved their conference mark to an amazing 3-1. Looking down the road – and outside of Pender (twice) and Lakewood (one more time) – the schedule and early results all around the conference seem to indicate the Lady Titans are holding a solid hand toward a NCHSAA 1A playoff slot if they can continue to play as they have in their first four conference matches.

“This group of Lady Titans has been working hard and relying on their defensive skills to keep them in matches until tonight when they turned up the hitting on the front line and started generating some strong offense,” Lady Titans’ Coach Karen Byrd said. “I admire how this team never quits and continues to work hard to reach their full potential. They are a joy to coach.”

Becca Alvis chipped in with six assists and three aces in the three-game victory.

The Lady Titans’ junior varsity team kept pace and set the stage for the varsity with a 2-0 (25-17, 25-8) win over the younger Lady Wildcats. Emilee Buchanon had eight points and Samantha Saunders had eight points for the young Trask team, which is now 3-5 overall and 1-3 in the conference.

The Lady Titans stay at home for another conference match next Tuesday (Sept. 11) when they play host to Union in a 4:30 p.m. junior-varsity start with the varsity match following approximately 30 minutes later. Trask goes on the road for a conference tilt on Thursday when they head to Kenansville for a match against the Lady Tigers of James Kenan.

Hobbton         24-20-17

Trask              25-25-25

Trask: Quaneisha James 6 kills; Anna Brodmerkel 15 points, 4 aces, 5 assists; Becca Alvis 6 assists, 3 aces.

07th Sep2012

Lady Patriots maul Midway in three

by Lee Wagner

BURGAW – After a one-day lesson in volleyball in a non-conference volleyball from 4A Hoggard on Wednesday, the Pender High School volleyball team wandered back into conference play on Thursday, and the result was much more pleasant for the Lady Patriots’ faithful.

Hoggard has been a thorn in Pender’s side for years and Wednesday was no  different as the Lady Vikings won in three games – only the fourth a really close affair. But Pender Coach Matt Davis – and former Coach Ray Horton before him – play powerful and tough teams every year in the pre-conference schedule (4A Laney and Hoggard, 3A West Brunswick, and 2A Topsail) and while wins don’t always come easily in those games, the experience of playing that type of competition does reap benefits when conference play begins and, so far, this year is no different.

Senior Kayvia Thompson had 10 kills, three aces, and three digs, classmate K. B. Hansley added seven kills, three aces, and three digs, and junior setter Jackie Sanabria had a kill, 24 assists, and two aces as Pender easily disposed of Midway 3-0 (25-19, 25-14, 25-10) on Thursday in a Tri-County 1A Conference volleyball game on the Ray Horton Volleyball Court in Burgaw.

The win keeps the Lady Patriots (7-4) unbeaten in conference play with a big week ahead of them with home conference games against an improving Wallace-Rose Hill team and perhaps their closest competitor in the race for the conference crown in the Lady Leopards of Lakewood.

“I was extremely glad to see us play better as the night progressed,” Davis said. “Sometimes when you start out sluggish it could be a long night but the girls got together during one of Midway’s timeouts in the first game and decided enough was enough. From that point we cut back on our mistakes and cleaned up our passing.

“The style of play that Midway used really took Brianna (Pittman) out of the game, but as I’m hoping will be the trend, the rest of the team stepped up. I thought Alyssa (Carter) had her best all-around game and Kayvia seemed to get her hitting on track. Really everyone was able to contribute and help us to do what we do, and that is going to be what it takes for us to be successful.”

A first-game slow start after an emotionally draining game against Hoggard the previous night was not too much of a surprise, especially against a Midway team that has traditionally been one of the teams vying for one of the top spots in the conference.

It took a while for Pender to get their legs under them as Midway jumped out to an early 10-6 lead in that first game. Pender came out of a timeout and rang up six quick points to forge ahead at 12-11 but Midway adjusted and found holes in the Lady Patriots’ defense that allowed them to keep the game close.

Thompson and Carter were able to take advantage of good sets by Sanabria from there and each had three kills in the closing points to finish off a first-game win.

Serves from Ruby Gasca, Carter, Hansley, and Thompson cause Midway trouble early in game two and led to free balls and aces. Mixing in the consistent serving of Cassidy Miller and Sanabria it was tough for Midway to really mount much of a run while Pender was collecting four and five points at a clip, and the second game went into the Lady Patriots win column with little drama.

The Pender girls began to feed off each other and one good play led to another in the third game. Pender’s passing was good and that led to easy sets for Sanabria and she was definitely on the same page as the Lady Patriot hitters.

Senior Brenee’ Jones came alive in the third game with strong net play that resulted in three kills, and by the end of the game Pender had six different players on the court. Meghan Cleary was able to get some good time coming off an injury, and she looked strong along with Journey Knowles. J. T. Taylor came up with several good serves, and Katy Stewart was able to set the ball up to the Pender hitters effectively as they completed a 15-point rout in the third contest.

Pender welcomes the Lady Bulldogs of Wallace-Rose Hill to Burgaw on Tuesday, and it will be the return of a prodigal son in Horton, who has been serving as an assistant coach for Wallace. On Thursday it will be a huge showdown when Lakewood ventures into Burgaw. Junior-varsity games on both nights begin at 4:30 p.m.

An early note, and date to circle on your calendar, is Monday, Oct. 8 when Pender plays a rescheduled non-conference game against Wilmington Christian Academy on what has been designated as the “Dig Pink Night.”

The Dig Pink affair – where everyone will hopefully don pink in a “pink out,” – will raise both funds and awareness for breast cancer as 20 percent ($1.00) of every ticket of all gate receipts will go toward breast cancer research.

Midway          19-14-10

Pender            25-25-25

Pender: Kayvia Thompson 10 kills, 1 assist, 3 aces, 3 digs; K. B. Hansley 7 kills, 3 aces, 3 digs; Brenee’ Jones 3 kills, 1 assist; Ruby Gasca 1 kill, 3 aces; Jackie Sanabria 1 kill, 24 assists, 2 aces; Alyssa Carter 5 kills, 1 assist, 2 blocks; Katy Stewart 1 block.

07th Sep2012

Lady Pirates turn Lady Devils blue

by Lee Wagner

HAMPSTEAD – Make no mistake, the Topsail High School volleyball team is a team with a huge target on its collective backs.

When you have gone unbeaten en route to winning back-to-back conference championship and – with a win at East Duplin on Tuesday – you are now carrying a streak of 33-straight conference wins ( last three games in 2009, unbeaten at 14-0 in 2010 and 2011, and 2-0 this year entering last night’s game) on your resume, opposing conference teams are definitely gunning for you, especially since this is your last year in the conference and it’s a good bet no one wants you to complete a third-straight unbeaten mark.

That’s what the Lady Pirates will face all season long, and that is what they faced on Thursday when the Lady Blue Devils of South Lenoir rolled into Hampstead – bringing with them a somewhat unimpressive 6-5 overall record along with a 1-1 conference record.

But records really don’t matter when the opponent is the team in black and gold, and the Lady Blue Devils tried to emphasize that point on Thursday – fortunately for the Lady Pirates’ faithful – to no avail.

Led once again by the hitting of senior Carlie Smith (18 kills), the setting of senior Angie Poage (38 assists), and behind an off-the bench spark in games two through four by senior Lacey Akerley (3 service points, 6 kills, 1 block, 5 digs) Topsail rallied from a one-game deficit to defeat South Lenoir 3-1 (23-25, 25-10, 25-12, 25-19) on Thursday in an East Central 2A Conference volleyball game at Topsail.

The win leaves the Lady Pirates with an overall record of 8-2 (the losses to 4A Ashley and 1A Pender – which they later avenged), a conference mark of 3-0, and an additional victory on the conference winning streak, which now stands at 34. South Lenoir fell to 6-6 and 1-2 in the conference.

“We did not serve well (missed five serves) and we saw a lot of balls drop during that first game,” Topsail Coach Hill Pearsall said. “I didn’t have to say a lot between the first and second games because the girls knew they had played poorly, and they put the next three games squarely on their own collective backs.

“The next two games we played fantastic. Kayla (sophomore hitter Hyatt) was excellent in the slot and Lacey came off the bench, played well, and gave us a real spark. We got a little lackadaisical in the fourth game and let them stay close. They were doing a good job of placing balls and it took us a while to figure it out.”

The Lady Blue Devils also did a great job of bringing up some voracious Topsail hits on the back line, and it seemed – on occasion – too stun the Lady Pirates’ hitters, forcing eight hitting mistakes to go along with five player-in-the-net calls against Topsail’s front-line players in the first game alone.

Still, the two teams played close throughout that first contest until South Lenoir took over the service trailing 23-20. Kills by Mattie Beyer and Caroline Jones and an ace from Taylor Sandlin tied the score at 23-23. Topsail’s fifth player-in-net call gave the Lady Blue Devils the lead at 24-23 and a ball hit into the net by Topsail gave South Lenoir a 25-23 win.

That seemed to upset the Lady Pirates and they came out with a vengeance in the second game. Down 1-0 Topsail got the serve and, behind a pair of aces from Summer Darnell, a block by Smith, and a kill by Akerley, didn’t turn it back until it was 5-1. It was 9-4 when Reagan Holloway went on service for Topsail and it was 15-4 when she relinquished it thanks to two kills and a block in the run by Hyatt.

Smith went on serve at 21-10 and spotted two aces to go along with a kill by Akerley and a ball out of bounds by South Lenoir to wrap up the win and tie the match at 1-1.

Topsail started off strong in the third game with Smith knocking down a pair of kills and “Shoeless: Summer Darnell (her shoe came off as she went up) knocking down a barefoot kill in igniting a five-point run to give the Lady Pirates a lead they would never relinquish. The Lady Blue Devils were unable to put together anything longer that a two-point run the rest of the way and Topsail closed out the win with kills by Hyatt and Reagan.

The fourth game proved to be more interesting as the two squads forged ties at 4-4, 6-6, 8-8, and 13-13 before South Lenoir moved in front late at 18-16. Poage went on serve at that point and a kill by Smith and a South Lenoir hitting error tied the match for a fifth time at 18-18. A kill by Darnell was followed by a pair of aces from Poage, a block from Smith, and another kill by Darnell as Topsail jumped out to a 24-18 lead.

A kill by South Lenoir’s Jones brought the serve back to the Lady Blue Devils’ side but the resurrection was short-lived as a kill by Akerley ended the game – and the match.

In a somewhat unusual – and lopsided – statistic, especially for Topsail, Lady Pirates were whistled for 10 player-in-the-net calls to just one for South Lenoir.

The usually solid Topsail junior-varsity team had a tough night, dropping a 2-1 (14-25, 25-22, 18-25) decision to south Lenoir. The junior-varsity team is now 9-2 overall and 2-1 in conference play.

Topsail is on the road on Monday for a 4:30 p.m. (JV‘s) non-conference start at 4A Laney. The Lady Pirates head to Clinton (0-7, -0-3) on Tuesday for a conference match against the Lady Dark Horsed before returning home to take on Croatan (3-3, 1-1) in another conference tilt on Thursday.

S. Lenoir        25-10-12-19

Topsail            23-25-25-25

Topsail: Carlie Smith 11 points, 4 aces, 18 kills, 5 blocks, 8 digs; Summer Darnell 11 points, 3 blocks, 5 kills, 5 digs; Reagan Holloway 7 points, 1 ace, 4 kills, 12 digs; Kayla Hyatt 4 points, 6 blocks, 8 kills, 1 ace, 11 digs; Chandler Skipper 1 kill, 14 digs; Angie Poage 19 points, 38 assists, 3 aces, 1 kill, 14 digs; Sarah Woodward 1 kill, 3 digs; Lacey Akerley 3 points, 6 kills, 1 block, 5 digs.

S. Lenoir: Madison Herring 1 kill; Caroline Jones 7 kills, 1 block; Rachel Dawson 9 kills; Demeyia Adams 4 kills, 1 block; Whitney Graves 1 ace; Mattie Beyer 1 kill; Taylor Sandlin 2 aces, 2 kills; Bree Williams 1 kill; Maecy Croon 1 kill, 1 ace.

07th Sep2012

Week 3 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.

TOPSAIL PIRATES AT ASHLEY SCREAMING EAGLES

WHERE & WHEN: At Ashley High School, Wilmington, 7:30 p.m.

COACHES: Topsail – Bryan Davis, 7th year (34-23); Ashley –Tom Eanes, 2nd year (3-10).

SEASON’S RECORD: Topsail is 1-1 after a 16-13 win over Trask and a 22-20 loss to Pender.  Ashley is 1-2 after 41-40 overtime loss to South Brunswick, a 48-30 defeat at the hands of Hoke County, and a 42-14 win over Trask last week.

NEXT GAME: Topsail opens East Central 2A Conference play on the road at Jacksonville-Northside. Ashley heads to Fairmont to face the Tornadoes in a non-conference contest.

LAST PLAYED: Ashley beat Topsail 24-14 on Sept. 9, 2011.

COMMON OPPONENTS: Topsail beat Trask 16-13 and Ashley beat the Titans 42-14.

KEY PLAYERS FOR ASHLEY: RB Quincey Rhodes, RB Charles Dent, QB Chris Kane, WR Trey Eller.

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 ASHLEY TO WIN: Based on what I saw last week simply give the ball to Rhodes until the Pirates show they can stop him. Mix in a little Chris Kane to keep the Pirates’ defense honest. Ashley runs the Triple-Option so passing isn’t necessarily the best part of their game, but Kane has proven he can do when called upon. Defense is the problem for the Eagles – they did not stop Trask as much as Trask stopped themselves, and if they let Topsail move the ball the way they are capable of doing it could produce a long evening for Eanes and his Screaming Eagles.

FOR TOPSAIL TO WIN: Get healthy, especially up front on offense and defense, and take care of the football. Topsail has enough weapons to move the ball on the Ashley’s defense and that would help keep the explosive Ashley offense on the sidelines. Defensively stop the two-headed monster of Rhodes and Kane – easier said than done. Honestly – if both teams do not turn the ball over and they avoid costly penalties – this could be a shootout in the mode of 31-28 or more.

SWANSBORO PIRATES AT DIXON BULLDOGS

WHERE & WHEN: At Dixon High School, Holly Ridge, 7:30 p.m.

COACH: Dixon – Ray Swaney, 4th year (12-24); Swansboro – Tim Laspada.

SEASON’S RECORD: Dixon is 2-0 after wins over Princeton (24-20) and Mattamuskeet (34-0). Swansboro is 2-1 with a 24-21 loss to Bertie after wins over West Carteret (20-13) and Lejeune (27-6).

NEXT GAME: Dixon will be at North Duplin. Swansboro opens East Central 2A Conference play by hosting Croatan.

LAST PLAYED: Swansboro 41-6 on Sept. 9, 2011.

COMMON OPPONENTS: None.

KEY PLAYERS FOR SWANSBORO: Jr. RB/SS DeAndre Thompkins, C/DT Josh Mattocks, Fr. WB/CB Markuise Hamby, Jr. QB/CB Chris Phipps, Soph. RBMLB Dakota Wakefield, Jr. RB/LB Shane Hill

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 SWANSBORO TO WIN: Hope that Thompkins is healthy! In his first two games Thompkins has returned three kickoffs for touchdowns, he scored three times against Lejeune, had a pair of scores in a win over West Carteret, and he rushed for 138 yards and scored on a 75-yard run and an 84-yard punt return before getting injured early in the second quarter in a loss to Bertie. Enough said! Defensively stymie the offense of Hansley and force the Bulldogs to go to the air.

FOR DIXON TO WIN: Hey, what’s not to like after two wins in which they have scored a combined 58 points while holding their opponents to 20 points. Swansboro presents a bigger challenge but – hey – if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Move the ball on sustained drives to keep Swansboro’s Thompkins – if healthy – on the sidelines. Defensively they must flow to the ball especially if it is in Thompkins’ hands. Also I would do my best to kick and punt away from him.

TRASK is licking its wounds after a 42-14 loss to Ashley and is using the bye week to work on things in anticipation of their Tri-County 1A Conference opener on Sept.14 at home against Midway

PENDER is off and regrouping after a 41-18 loss to Whiteville. The Patriots are at home on Sept. 14 for their Tri-County 1A Conference opener against Hobbton.

06th Sep2012

Lady Patriots fall in three to Lady Vikings

by Lee Wagner

BURGAW – For years, former Pender High School volleyball Coach Ray Horton would say there is no magic to the reason the Lady Patriots continually fell to the Lady Vikings of 4A power Hoggard, even in the championship years of 2009 and 2010 when Pender lost twice to Hoggard both years.

Now that Matt Davis is the head coach it’s a good bet he will say the same thing but there seems to be a mystic that comes over the gymnasium when the girls in blue and white play the Lady Patriots, and that mystic reared its ugly head once more yesterday on the Ray Horton Volleyball court at Pender even with the Lady Vikings coming in off an 18-day period without playing a competitive game.

Twelve Lady Viking hitters combined for 33 kills to offset a combined 16 kills by Kayvia Thompson (7), K. B. Hansley (3), and Brianna Pittman (6) as Hoggard rolled to a 3-0 (16-25, 14-25, 24-26) win over Pender in non-conference volleyball match in Burgaw.

The loss dropped the snake-bitten (when it comes to Hoggard) Lady Patriots to 6-4 overall while they maintained their perfect 3-0 record in the Tri-County 1A Conference.

“Obviously Hoggard is a good team and they have been at the level that most area teams are working toward the past several years but I don’t think that, at any point, we looked like we should not be on the same floor as them,” Davis said. “I felt we held our own. We played hard the whole night even though our girls had to look up through the net at the size they had.

“We didn’t seem intimidated and offensively our hitters were still effective at not being blocked too often. Hoggard was just able to dig our attacks and turn them into attacks of their own. Other than two stretches I was pleased with the way we handled their serve which, top-to-bottom, is the best we’ll see all year. The loss will help us more than most of our wins later on down the line.”

Pender hung around early in the first game, keeping it close with good passing off of Hoggard’s serve. But the Lady Vikings were too good passing and that led to them being able to run their offense. Pittman was able to alter their hits, causing misses or forcing them to settle for tips instead of hard-hit balls however the Lady Vikings had too many weapons and slowly pulled away to a nine-point win.

It appeared that the Lady Patriots were gaining some traction in the second game when they took an early 6-3 lead but a strong serving run allowed the Lady Vikings to bolt out to a 13-6 lead, and Pender was never able to completely get back into the game. Hoggard’s height advantage became a major factor as the game went along, and the Lady Vikings pulled out a 25-14 win to go up two games to none.

The third game stayed close from start to finish as three aces by Alyssa Carter fired up the Lady Patriots and their fans, forcing Hoggard Coach Ron Strickland to call a time out with Pender holding a 23-20 lead.

An ace and a quick set brought the Lady Vikings to within one at 23-22, and they tied it up at 23-23 with a strong serve that forced Pender into a free ball leading to a well-placed tip.

Hansley had a kill off of a Hoggard block to put the Lady Patriots on top at 24-23 but the Lady Vikings used a play off the serve and an ace to close out the third game, and the match.

Pender jumps right back into things tonight when they welcome the Lady Raiders of Midway to Burgaw for a conference match with the junior-varsity starting at 4:30 p.m.

Pender is also home on Tuesday when Wallace-Rose Hill visits, and on Thursday in a key match with Lakewood.

Hoggard         25-25-26

Pender            16-14-24

Pender: Kayvia Hansley 7 kills, 1 block, 1 ace; K. B. Hansley 3 kills, 1 assist, 1 ace, 2 digs; Brenee’ Jones 2 blocks; Ruby Gasca 1ace, 1 dig; Jackkie Sanabria 1 kill, 11 assists; Alyssa Carter 2 kills, 2 locks, 3 aces; Brianna Pittman 6 kills, 2 blocks.

Hoggard: Alyssa Zuppan 8 kills; Montgomery Register 4 kills; Cassidy Stephenson 11 kills, Angie Papach 7 kills.

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