Dowagiac’s Jessica Herthoge had five kills against No. 9-ranked Berrien Springs Thursday. The Shamrocks swept the Chieftains 3-0. (Leader photo/JOSEPH WEISER)

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No.9-ranked Berrien Springs sweeps Dowagiac

Published 9:40pm Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thursday’s volleyball match between Dowagiac and Berrien Springs became secondary after what took place in the first game.

An injury to Dowagiac’s Rachel Bailey stopped the match for several minutes and silenced the Dowagiac High School gymnasium. Bailey was eventually taken off in an ambulance.

When the match resumed, ninth-ranked (Class B) Berrien Springs recorded a 25-9, 25-16, 25-19 win.

“I haven’t heard anything,” said Dowagiac coach Sara Lawrence after the match about Bailey’s injury. “She said she heard a pop in her knee. I hope it’s not her ACL.”

Bailey, who’s a two-year varsity starter at outside hitter, landed awkwardly while going after the ball.

Both coaches were asked about how the injury affected their team.

“Big affect,” Lawrence said. “Big affect. As soon as we got her off the court and to the side, the girls were flat.”

“All of a sudden you’ve got a pretty good flow going like we had, and you stop, and then every athlete thinks they can be the next kid injured,” said Berrien Springs coach Jim Birmingham, whose team improved to 18-1 overall and 3-0 in the Wolverine Conference. “I think it takes away your edge.”

The Shamrocks, who won a Class B District title last year, led 12-2 at the time of the injury.

Berrien Springs jumped out to a 17-7 lead in game two and Dowagiac never got closer than six points the rest of the way. The game ended on a Dowagiac service error.

“We’re a team made up of seniors and we’re a really good team so in order for me to be a good sportsman I need to make sure that some of my subs play,” Birmingham said. “We respect the team on the other side of the court. I thought we played well considering the fact that I was literally using my whole bench.”

In game three, Berrien Springs went on a 6-0 run and took a 23-13 lead. Dowagiac pulled within 24-19 on Hazel Kennedy’s service ace before the Shamrocks won the game and the match on a Chieftains’ service error.

“I warned them on Tuesday about Berrien Springs and that they were very good,” Lawrence said. “Once our girls got out here and saw how powerful their hitter (Holly Toliver) was our team was kind of scared at first. I kept telling them, ‘so what, lets go, lets keep going’. Once we get on a high level we can play with anybody. But when we start getting down on ourselves we play flat.”

Dowagiac led only twice in the match at 2-1 in game two and 1-0 in game three.

The 6-foot-2 Toliver had 12 kills to lead Berrien Springs offensively. Teammate Desiree Scoggin added seven kils. Jessica Herthoge had five kills and two service aces for Dowagiac. Courtney Hunsberger also totaled two services aces for the Chieftains.


Berrien Springs d. Dowagiac 3-0

At Dowagiac

Kills: Jessica Herthoge (D) 5, Amanda Badner (D) 3, Holly Toliver (B) 12, Desiree Scoggin (B) 7, Jennifer Marren (B) 4

Blocks: Brittany Williams (D) 2

Assists: Jillian Wold (B) 32

Aces: Wold (B) 6, Paige Coffeen (B) 2

Digs: Scoggin (B) 6, Taylor Weckel (B) 4

Records: Berrien Springs 18-1, 3-0 Wolverine Conference


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