Momentum can change sides quickly

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By Michael Paul, Sports Editor

Volleyball reminds me of the importance of momentum.

“Momentum” is often used to described action in sports, to pinpoint the turning point in a game and the shift to a more enthusiastic attitude by athletes.

It is especially noticeable in volleyball.

Several years ago in high school volleyball, only the serving team could score points. It made for long matches, but it also led to intense matches.

To shorten the matches, points are now scored no matter who serves. To me, the matches are not as intense, and that is evident among some of the players. Once a team gets behind by several points, it’s difficult to rally—in other words, a team loses momentum.

The South Brunswick High School volleyball team was in that situation Oct. 6. In the match at home with the Pender Patriots for first place in the Waccamaw Conference, Pender won the first game 25-18. Pender, unbeaten in the conference, showed why it was unbeaten, executing nearly flawlessly.

In the second game of the best-of-five-games match, Pender led 22-20. A dink by the Cougars’ Nicole Ray cut the lead to 22-21. The next point was one of the best rallies of the match, as Pender’s players twice made diving digs to return shots. But a slam by Ray ended the rally and tied the score 22-22. It proved to be the turning point in the match. When the ball was given on the sideout to South Brunswick’s Christina Deveney to serve, momentum changed sides, too.

Pender, which was just three points from a 2-0 lead games, now was in a battle for the victory. With Deveney serving, South gained points on back-to-back dinks by Rheanna Lawson off sets by Caitlin Bevill. Pender forced a sideout, but South won the game after a Pender violation. South went to win the next two games and the match.

“Once we get fired up, it’s contagious,” South Brunswick coach Chad Shoaf said. “From there, you really don’t have to do a whole lot. Just let them play. When they play their best is when they’re relaxed. That’s as good as I’ve seen them all year. It’s a pleasure to watch them play that way.”

Momentum was also evident in a recent Brunswick Community College volleyball match. BCC rallied from losing the first two games to beat Surry Community College 22-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-13, 15-10.

Needing to win the third game in the best-of-five-games match, the Dolphins trailed 22-19 before a kill by Meg Phillips led to a BCC sideout. Phillips then served out the game in the 25-22 victory.

In the run, an SCC violation gave BCC its 21st point, and hits by Jasmine Williams and Jordan Clear put BCC ahead 23-22. Another SCC violation gave BCC its 24th point, and the game ended on a kill by Melissa Orth, set up by a saving dig by Clear.

The rally by BCC clearly affected SCC in the next game: The Dolphins dominated from the start, scoring 11 straight points in taking an 11-1 lead. Credit that to the BCC players. And credit it to that fickle jersey wearer: momentum.

MICHAEL PAUL is the sports editor at the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or at sports@brunswickbeacon.com.