Pike County loses on senior night to Abbeville

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, October 8, 2013

It was a bittersweet senior night for the Pike County volleyball team when they fell to Abbeville 3-1 (17-25, 15-25, 25-20, 19-25).

The first set of the match was a back and forth affair in which neither side could seize control. With the set tied at 17, Abbeville rallied to win the next three points to take a 20-17 lead.

Coach Karie Striplin called a timeout to calm down the Bulldogs, but, once Abbeville got on a roll, nothing could stop the Yellow Jackets.

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Abbeville took the next five points to close out the match 25-17.

Abbeville carried its strong momentum from the conclusion first set into the start of the second set. The Yellow Jackets took 15 of the first 17 points of the set.

The Bulldogs would rally and make the second half of the set more competitive, but only enough to bring the final score to 25-15.

In between the second and third sets, Coach Striplin took the time to honor the three seniors on the Bulldog squad.

Shea Helms, daughter of Dawn and Lee Helms, played one year for the Bulldogs.

Acacia James, daughter of Samson and Kendall James, also played one year for the Bulldogs.

Kathryn Youngblood, daughter of Ben and Wendy Youngblood, played six years for the Bulldogs.

Pike County came out in the third set with a new sense of purpose. The Bulldogs led throughout the set and were paced by Youngblood who served four consecutive aces to close out the set.

The fourth and final set of the match was as competitive as the third set. The Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets traded points back and forth until the score was tied at 18. Following a Pike County timeout, Abbeville registered four straight aces to give the Yellow Jackets a 22-18 lead. After conceding a point to Pike County, Abbeville won the next three points to win the set and the match 25-19.

After the game, Coach Striplin said that her team needs to continue improving if they want to beat Abbeville in the area tournament. “Our service return was still the weak point of our game,” Striplin said. “We’re still making adjustments on defense to get players in the right position. It really comes down to experience. We only have one senior and one junior who have experience. Without the experience, it is sometimes difficult for players to know how to react in certain situations,”

Striplin also said that she was looking forward to a rematch with the Yellow Jackets in the area tournament. “Abbeville is a team that we like playing, and we have steadily improved in our last two matches with them,” Striplin said. “Abbeville is a team that we should beat in the area tournament.”

Youngblood agreed with her coach’s assessment. “We need to not get frustrated during games,” Youngblood said. “We still need to learn how to plunk the ball better to set up our passing.”

Youngblood did share that in her six years as a volleyball player at Pike County that she has seen improvement in the program.

“We have a lot better team than we used to,” Youngblood said. “We have a good coach now, and that shows.”

Pike County will play Abbeville in the area tournament on Oct. 21 in Montgomery.