BERWICK — Following Monday’s match with Patterson High, the Berwick High School volleyball team felt something it hadn’t felt in almost two weeks: victory.
The Lady Panthers (5-12) feasted on multiple Patterson attack errors as it won in four games, 25-20, 23-25, 25-21, 25-15.
“A ‘W’ is a ‘W’,” Berwick coach Charlotte Menard said. “We are just very mental at times. We get discouraged with a couple mistakes, and we kind of go down in the tank and it takes a little while for them to relax and be silly, for them to kind of just get their composure back. It’s like they’re so competitive, and they’re very rough on each other, which is good and bad. They hold each other to a very high standard of play, and when they don’t meet it, they tend to let each other know.”
While the squad lost, the Lumberjills were in every game, even the fifth one until it got away from them late.
The loss is the second consecutive Division 3, District 5 loss for Patterson.
“Too many, way too many,” PHS coach Chasity Fontenot said of her squad's hitting errors, adding the squad had too many service errors, too. “We helped Berwick beat us. They didn’t beat us alone. Our errors killed us. We took a step backwards today, and that’s not where I want to go. It’s too late in the season to be taking steps backwards.”
While they lost the match, things started out positive for Patterson as it raced out to an 11-4 lead in game 1; however, like they had all game, hitting errors proved to be the Lumberjills’ downfall as the squad had four consecutive misfires, allowing Berwick to get the deficit to 11-8.
While Patterson added another point via a kill, Berwick took control jumping out to as much as a 22-12 advantage.
However, Patterson began to rally with its hitting game and Berwick errors.
A Rebecca Taylor kill cut the Berwick advantage to 23-20, but Berwick scored the next two points, including an Elizabeth Hover block to end game 1.
In game 2, Berwick led much of the early going but could not gain more than a five-point advantage as both teams battled back and forth.
Patterson tied the game multiple times but could not regain the lead since scoring the first point until a Berwick hitting error late in the contest pushed the Patterson advantage to 23-22.
Following a timeout, Patterson took the game on consecutive aces by Kailyn Johnson.
Patterson jumped out to a 5-2 lead in game 3 but Berwick came back to tie the game at 5 via a Patterson hitting error, a Gray kill and another Patterson hitting error.
While Berwick jumped out to as much as a 17-9 lead following a Johnson hit out of bounds, the ’Jills rallied with a 9-2 run to cut the Berwick lead to 19-18.
A combination of Berwick errors, kills by Courtnie Boudreaux and Caitlyn Fontenot and three Caitlyn Fontenot aces allowed the ’Jills to get back in the ball game.
Caitlyn Fontenot’s third ace cut the Berwick deficit to 19-18.
However, Berwick went on a 6-3 run to close the game, capped by an Abigail Askew kill.
In Game 4, Patterson jumped out to an early 8-3 lead, but Berwick rallied and finally took the lead, 10-9, on an Askew kill.
The Lady Panthers would never trail in the game again.
“Patterson, they’ve improved a lot,” Menard said. “They really have. They hustled. They don’t let anything hit the ground, and that was one of the things our girls kept saying: They have to continue to play it out because they’re not going to let it (the ball) just fall down.”
While the Lumberjills’ offense may have struggled at times, its defense has improved, PHS assistant coach Mark Spradling said.
“We definitely played a lot better, moved a lot better, were hustling at a lot of balls,” he said. “I don’t think we had too many balls that we weren’t trying to go after, so in that aspect, we have gotten a lot better in the game. Our defense is getting a lot better. It’s just those offensive mistakes (are) what’s killing us.”
In the win, Hover led the Lady Panthers with a triple-double with 11 kills, 11assists, 11 digs and three blocks, while Abigail Ohlin added four kills, four aces, two assists and 13 digs.
Other Lady Panther contributors included Askew, six kills, an assist and five blocks; Rebecca Richard, a kill, seven assists, two aces and four digs; Gray, six kills, an assist and three digs; Diana Grace Guarisco, two aces and 12 digs; and Celeste Bowers, an assist, three aces and seven digs.
For Patterson, Caitlyn Fontenot added 14 points, four aces, seven digs, eight kills and a block, while Carissa Fontenot served five points and also recorded two aces, eight digs and 18 assists.
Other PHS contributors included Rachel Easley, two points, 10 digs and a kill; Carli McIntyre, 22 digs; Taylor, four points, three aces, three kills and seven digs; and Boudreaux, two digs and six kills