|NH girls' can't get past old nemesis|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
Nov. 9, 2005 - PRINCETON - For the second straight year, the No. 7-ranked North Hopkins Lady Panthers had their season end at the hands of the fourth-ranked Collinsville Pirates in the area round of the Class A, Region III playoffs.
Collinsville won by scores of 25-17, 25-21, 25-10 to improve to 31-4 on the year.
"We didn't dig the ball as well as we should have, but they have some girls that were just awesome on the net and we just couldn't slow the ball down to help our back row," said NHHS coach Danna Lewis. "I was real pleased with how the girls served and I was pleased with how we played in the first and second set, but then we had some mental breakdowns in the third set."
North Hopkins ends the season with the most wins in NHHS annals at 32-5, and Lewis said this season was a fun year for her as the coach.
"It has been an awesome year and I am so proud that I was a part of this year. These were some great group of girls, and we are graduating five seniors. They have been great to work with this year," the coach said.
Collinsville jumped out in Game 1 on a 17-9 scoring run behind kills from Amber Farr, Amelia Corbett, Kelcie Miller, Toni Shelton and Brittaney Ross and 10 assists from Heather Pettiet.
The Lady Panthers cut the Game 1 deficit to 19-16 as the duo of Maegan Baxter and Katy Williams connected on a kill, but then the Pirates outscored NH 6-1 to take the victory.
Game 2 was competitive between the two schools as the Collinsville lead was no larger than six points midway through the game, until the Lady Panthers tied the game at 18-18 during a 4-0 run with three kills coming from Williams.
Lewis said during practices for the game and throughout the game, the Lady Panthers knew Miller, Farr and Ross would be consistent for the Pirates.
"We were looking at No. 12 (Miller) and No. 1 (Farr) and we knew they had three girls that could hit the ball consistently at the net for them and No. 10 (Ross) stepped up tonight and we didn't know she would be so consistent tonight," Lewis said.
Ross led the way with 14 kills, one ace and one block, followed by Farr with 11 kills and one block, and Miller had seven kills, nine blocks and three assists. Corbett also had seven kills and two blocks and Pettiet had a game-high 37 assists, one kill and one ace for Collinsville.
In Game 3, North Hopkins put together a 5-0 run to take a 6-4 lead as TaShona Berry had a kill off of a Baxter assist as that would be the last lead the Lady Panthers would hold for the rest of the night.
Collinsville outscored NH 21-4 after the Berry kill as Toni Shelton and Miller had seven service points each in Game 3.
After a kill by Ebbonye Johnson cut the deficit to 24-10, NH junior Sabra Thomas hit the serve into the net for the 25-10 finale.
Katy Williams had 12 kills, one assists, two blocks and one ace, while teammate Baxter had a team-high 14 assists and four aces. Holli Argenbright had five kills and one block, Johnson had four kills, one assist and one block, Berry had two kills, Thomas had one ace, one block and two assists for the Lady Panthers. Ashly Hooten had two assists for North Hopkins.
This was the final game for seniors Williams, Berry, Ashley Wilson, Hooten and Baxter, and Lewis said these players were special to her and to the North Hopkins volleyball program that went 39-1 in district play the past four seasons and 100-30 overall during that stretch.
"They are a special group of girls that have a special place in my heart and they always worked hard and they always gave me 110 percent on the floor. You could never ask for more than that and they did that for all four years of their whole school career," the coach said. "It will hurt to lose them but I have a lot of talent coming back for next year."