Youthful GPS Uses Strong Comeback To Beat Red Bank

Bruisers Now 4-7 Following 3-2 Thriller Over Lionettes Wednesday

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - by John Hunt

It’s been a roller-coaster season so far for the GPS volleyball team and they haven’t even gotten through the first month of competition.

Injuries, illness and youthfulness have all taken its toll on the Bruisers.  Their record was 3-7 prior to Wednesday’s match at home against Red Bank.

The Bruisers can and will get better.  They took a step in that direction following a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Lionettes in a match that could have gone either way.

GPS built a 16-5 lead in the first set, but had to hang on for dear life to prevail, 25-23. 

The Bruisers had a similar big lead in the second set, bolting to a 13-3 advantage before Red Bank started playing.  Five straight service points from Allison Walker allowed the Lionettes to knot the score at 17-17 before taking control at 21-17.

Red Bank then prevailed by 25-19 to even the score at one set apiece.

GPS scored the first point of the third set, but this one belonged to Red Bank.  The difference was 13-9 before Red Bank's Janie Smith’s kill gave her team an emotional boost and Susie Marler followed with eight straight service points as the visitors proceeded to take a 2-1 lead with the convincing 25-14 win.

The score was tied on five occasions in the fourth set – the last time at 7-7 – before GPS started playing with intention and purpose.  The Bruisers scored nine of the next 12 points and never looked back as they evened the match at two sets apiece with the 25-15 win.

GPS, with momentum clearly on its side following the fourth set, took advantage by scoring the first three points and six of the first eight as they closed out the match with the 15-6 decision.

“I thought we had a good start, but being as young as we are, we started playing not to lose and that’s frustrating,” said GPS coach Paul Brock afterward.

“We were passing all over the board and our hitting was inconsistent, but we made some adjustments after that fourth set to give our hitters a few more options.  We went to a smaller lineup and finally got our chemistry right.

“I’m happy with the first, fourth and fifth sets, but we could have just folded our tent and quit.  Our passing was better today than yesterday and we had  better ball control.  Momentum can be an amazing creature at times, but you always want it on your side.  Teenaged girls don’t always have the mental toughness to control it, so it’s hard to stop at times.

“We’re getting better and we just have to keep working, but we should be okay before the season ends,” he added.

Red Bank coach Mandi Munn saw a lot of positives and was basically pleased with everything except the final score.

“We have to learn how to finish out a match when the momentum is on our side.  We fought hard and played pretty well for the most part, but we just have to learn how to be mentally tougher in situations like that.  I’m hoping that we can learn from our mistakes.  We still have some cleaning up to do with our game, but it’s tough losing a match like that,” she nodded after her team had fallen to 6-5 in the non-district match.

Angela Bonds, one of four GPS seniors on the roster, was a force up front as she demonstrated her outstanding leaping ability as she finished with 17 kills.

Mackenzie Hobbs, another senior who just returned from surgery, contributed 19 digs while Reagan Williams, yet another upper-classman, may have had the best match of all with a dozen kills, 15 digs and 31 assists.

Caitlyn Jenkins spearheaded Red Bank’s attack with 11 kills and 17 digs while Hannah Wilson had 22 digs and Marjorie Smith six blocks.

RED BANK STATS:

Caitlyn Jenkins – 11 kills, 17 digs, 2 aces

Allison Walker – 6 kills, 12 digs

Rachel Thornbury – 16 digs, 2 aces

Hannah  Wilson – 22 digs, 2 aces

Janie Smith – 4 kills, 5 blocks

Jasmine Simpson – 2 kills

Dani Usher – 5 kills, 5 blocks

Megan Paradis – 5 digs, 3 aces

Cassidy Payne – 6 digs

Marjorie Smith – 4 kills, 6 blocks, 6 digs.

GPS STATS:

Kate McVay – 1 dig

Lilly Berger – 8 kills 6 digs

Courtlyn Martino – 17 digs

Jenna Simpson – 3 kills, 4 aces, 27 digs

Helen Johnston – 4 kills, 3 blocks

Angela Bonds – 17 kills, 3 aces, 12 digs

Allyce Buniak – 5 kills, 5 blocks

Mackenzie Hobbs – 1 ace, 19 digs

Reagan Williams – 12 kills, 31 assists, 1 ace, 15 digs

Gabby Hughes – 3 kills, 17 assists, 5 aces, 1 dig

Cami Shands – 1 kill, 1 block, 1 dig.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)


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