Dowagiac’s Amanda Badner (16) tries to block a South Haven player during Wednesday’s match. The Rams swept the Chieftains 3-0 in a Wolverine Conference West Division match. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

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South Haven hitter too much for Dowagiac

Published 11:14pm Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dowagiac’s volleyball team had a hard time containing South Haven hitters in Thursday’s Wolverine Conference match.

Led by 5-foot-10 senior Emma Toneycliffe, who totaled 14 kills, and Avery Hoyt, who had 10, the Rams beat the Chieftains, 25-13, 26-24, 25-7.

“We just stood there and watched too much,” said Dowagiac coach Sara Lawrence, whose team never led in the match. “It wasn’t much of a challenge for South Haven. Just a bad night.”

Rams coach Katie Bates likes the direction her team is headed.

“We’re progressing as the season goes on,” said Bates. “We’re getting better and better. But this is the best we’ve played in a match. I hope this is the start of something great.”

Toneycliffe was consistent throughout, totaling four kills in game one, six kills in game two and four kills in game three. She also recorded six service aces.

Bates was asked about Toneycliffe’s plans for college.

“She has not committed yet,” Bates said. “We don’t know where she wants to go to college. But, she’s definitely the heart of our team. She’s our senior leader and the big kid that gets the kills when we need them.”

Toneycliffe’s first kill gave South Haven a 5-1 lead in game one. After the Rams’ Sarah Washegesic recorded a kill to give the Rams a 6-1 lead, Lawrence called a timeout.

“I told them to zone out all the noise,” the Chieftains coach said. “There was too much noise going on in the gym. I think they were getting too hyped up with that and not paying enough attention to the game. I wanted to get them to focus and get them out there and show Dowagiac pride.”

Dowagiac pulled within 7-3 in game one, but wasn’t able to get any closer as South Haven pulled away and won the first game after a Chieftains’ service error.

Like in game one, Dowagiac got down early, trailing South Haven, 5-0. But, unlike game one, the Chieftains had their chances to win game two. A block from Amanda Badner helped Dowagiac tie game two at 13. After a South Haven timeout, the Rams went on an 8-2 run to take a 21-15 lead. The Chieftains responded with a 9-3 run to tie the match at 24. Brittany Williams’ block for Dowagiac helped tie the game late. The run would end there for the Chieftains as the Rams scored the final two points on a Chieftains’ service error and Maddie Gargus kill.

“I think we had a couple good blocks and a couple good plays that the girls got excited about,” Lawrence said about her team’s play in game two.

Dowagiac couldn’t maintain its better play in game two in game three as South Haven dominated the final game. Behind a 15-2 run, the Rams took a 21-6 lead.

Lawrence was asked if the tough loss in game two affected her team in game three.

“That’s exactly what happened,” Lawrence said. “Too many mistakes and the girls got down,”

Dowagiac was once again playing without starter Rachel Bailey, who was injured two weeks ago against Berrien Springs. The news on Bailey isn’t good.

“She has a torn ACL and a torn meniscus,” Lawrence said. “She’s got surgery coming up. She’ll be out (playing sports) for six months. It has a big, big affect on our team.”


South Haven d. Dowagiac 3-0


Kills: Hazel Kennedy (D) 3, Amanda Badner (D) 2, Brittany Williams (D) 2, Emma Toneycliffe (S) 14, Avery Hoyt (S) 10, Bobbie Goodwin (S) 3

Blocks: Williams (D) 2, Badner (D) 2

Aces: Hunter Goins (D) 2, Casey Weldy (D) 1, Katie Dantone (D) 1, Toneycliffe (S) 6, Goodwin (S) 5, Sarah Washegesic (S) 4, Maddie Gargus (S) 2

Assists: Gargus (S) 25

Digs: Goins (D) 3, Weldy (D) 2, Dantone (D) 2, Hoyt (S) 3


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