Bobcats top Mustangs

Published 12:34 am Thursday, September 6, 2007

By By STEVE MORRISON / Niles Daily Star
NILES – Host Brandywine served up a Lakeland Conference-opening 3-0 shut out of visiting River Valley at Brandywine High School on a steamy evening, Wednesday.
The lady Bobcats overcame some early jitters to score a solid victory.
The first game was an emotionally draining nip-and-tuck contest. River Valley started out on the attack with a 6-5 lead. The Bobcats came back to apparently tie the score, but referees called Kendra Zache for being in the net, awarding the point to the Mustangs and making the score River Valley seven, Brandywine five. Zache answered with a line scorching kill to make it 8-7. Then River Valley was called for in the net to knot the score at 8-8.
Inspired by their rebound, the Bobcat ladies built a 17-13 lead, highlighted by a succession of excellent serves by Zache. After River Valley coach Randy Martz called a timeout to collect his troops, an ace by server Ashley Light put the Cats up 18-13.
Fine play at the net by Brandywine's Katie Smallwood, Emily Low, and Zache, as well as a tricky backhanded score by Missy Cooper held off a vicious surge by the Mustangs to keep Brandywine ahead 21-16
River Valley then scored six unanswered points to forge a 22-21 advantage. The lead exchanged hands several times near the end of the game, but a laser ace by Missy Cooper put the Cats on top 25-24 and they polished it off to break the tie and to win 26-24.
Winning the first game was the perfect medicine for an inspired Brandywine team, who jumped out with a 17-6 lead including a picture perfect spike by Karli Wendorf. After Matz called another time out, the Mustangs rallied to close 20-11, but a fine kill by Smallwood and a lightning ace by Light broke the game aide open, as the Cats triumphed 25-13 to win the second game. Brandywine coasted to a 25-15 win in the third frame to shut the door on the visitors.
Coach Sara Eaton was ecstatic over her team's performance. "I'm very proud of the way my team played tonight; they did a great job! My best defensive payer was Alexa Perry. My setters did a great job with 35 assists from Emily Low and 37 from Melissa Cooper," she said.
Smallwood led with four blocks, Zache had 10 kills and Cooper had five.
Coach Heidi Leets' Brandywine JV squad lost their first game 25-15, but roared back with 27-25 and 15-9 in a victories to begin to their season well.