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The Brunswick Community College volleyball team made a successful debut on its new homecourt Sept. 2 by beating Johnston Community College 25-17, 21-25, 25-16, 25-20.
Playing in the gym at the Dinah E. Gore Fitness & Aquatics Center, the Dolphins shook off two lackluster performances in the first two games and took early leads in the final two games en route to the victory.
Three players have returned from the national-tournament team that won regular-season and conference tournament championships last year—the first year of the program—but coach Stephanie Beach said the newcomers are capable replacements.
“It is a different team, and it is a big adjustment,” Beach said. “However, I think our replacements are stronger. I think, overall, this will be a stronger team. It’s just working out the kinks that’s kind of setting us back.”
Each team served poorly at the start of the first game.
“Serving is always the key to victory—or the key to a loss,” Beach said. “We missed 15 (first serves) overall. If we had made those serves, we probably would have won in three games instead of four.”
BCC took control in the first game when KaAnn Murray (Branchville, S.C.) held serve for five points and a 15-11 lead. Kelly Garry (Oxford), the returning libero, served the final three points in the 25-17 victory.
In the second game, BCC fell behind 10-4 an 23-15. BCC rallied late, but Johnston held on for the victory.
Jordan Clear, West Brunswick’s female athlete of the year in 2008 and another returning starter, served BCC to an 11-2 lead in the third game. A kill by Hannah Ennis, the 2008 conference tourney MVP, began the eight-point run. A pass from Emily Craven, a West graduate, set up Ennis for another kill and a 7-2 lead. A dig by Murray eventually led to a point and a 10-2 lead, and a service winner by Clear put BCC ahead 11-2 before a sideout.
Neither team was able to sustain a rally thereafter, and Johnston had cut the lead to 20-15 before an errant hit. Craven held serve for three points, and BCC eventually won when Murray passed to Courtney Steele (Graham) for game point.
Clear repeated her stellar serving in the fourth game, hitting two winners in a 6-0 run that put BCC ahead 8-1.
The lead was 10-6 when Craven hit a service winner for an 11-6 lead. A dig by Garry kept alive a possession that led to a point. After an errant shot by Johnston, a dig by Craven led to a point and a 14-6 lead.
A service winner by Clear and a dig by Christine Price (Fayetteville) extended the lead to 22-14, and BCC won the game and the match three possessions later.
BCC is 2-2, having gone 1-2 in a tourney in Florida.
“They’re still trying to figure out how to work together,” Beach said. “I think they’re starting to get it. It takes time, especially when you have three new people on the court.”
The Dolphins’ next home match is 5 p.m. Sept. 14 against Guilford Tech.
MICHAEL PAUL is the sports editor at the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.