Lady Bengals Stop Redhawks in Straight Sets

Blythewood’s Jasrial Thompson goes up high against the Lady Redhawks. (Photo/Ross Burton)

BLYTHEWOOD – Cross-town rivals Westwood and Blythewood matched up at Blythewood High Oct. 9 for a varsity girls’ volleyball contest. The crippled Westwood team had several key players out with injuries, some of which were season-ending injuries. The Westwood bench features no more than eight healthy players for a game that requires six players making up a full team. Blythewood prevailed in straight sets, 25-19, 25-18 , 25-19.

Coming off a win against Dreher High School the previous day, Westwood head coach Amanda Kruysman was not sure what to expect from the Blythewood game.

“Blythewood has always been consistent and fortunately, has been injury free, and that’s not the hand we have been given,” Kruysman said. “The Dreher win was a sloppy win, which is always better than a pretty loss. I’m not sure what the team will do today, because for us, consistency hasn’t been there.”

Taylor Grant is out with a concussion and Jamila Minor is limited to the number of games she can play each week. Two other players are out with a broken foot and the team’s starting middle is out for the season with a torn ACL.

As play began, and during warm-ups, it was quite apparent that the Bengal team was almost twice the size of the Redhawks. At least 13 Bengal players appeared to be healthy and ready to play.

Westwood got off to a poor start in the first game of this best-of-five game match. Errors cost the Lady Redhawks to lose the first five points, which would be difficult to regain. Wisely, Kruysman called a timeout to get the team back on track. While the Redhawks’ back-court play was impressive, they couldn’t mount enough of an offensive to close the gap, and after an off-speed kill shot by Bijonae Jones, the Redhawks trailed 11-2. Due largely to the good back court play and some good serving, Westwood began to keep up. When the score was 14-4, Westwood would score the next seven points in a row to narrow the gap to 14-11, in part on good serving by Jordan Jones and a couple of kills by Minor. However, with the score 22-18, the Lady Bengals managed to score the next three points to end the set 25-18.

Set number two began more evenly with the teams trading the first six points. Westwood took the lead for the first time in the match by two points after an overset by Blythewood. Behind good offensive play by Jones and Brittany Mims, Blythewood took the lead back, 11-9. The Lady Bengals’ momentum caused the game to begin to slip away from the Redhawks. The score stood 16-11 after a bad call on a serve that looked out of bounds but landed just in bounds. The game, after a bad call on a serve that looked out but landed in, started to get away from Westwood with the score at 16-11. It looked like the score of the set would be 25-15, but Blythewood dropped a few points, allowing Westwood to close the gap to 23-18. Blythewood then outscored the Redhawks two to one, finishing the set at 25-19.

The final set proceeded much like the first two with Blythewood taking the early lead, 10-4. By the 20th point by Blythewood, Westwood had only scored 13. Westwood came back, as they had in the other two games, to narrow the gap to 24-17. The set and match ended when Westwood served the ball into the net. The final score was 25-18.

Kruysman kept the loss in perspective.

“It was closer than last year,” she said. “Our passing was not there by any means. We are concerned about injury prevention. Some of our players played more conservatively to keep from killing themselves. When we can’t pass and recover, and when the play isn’t consistent, we can’t predict how the rest of the game will go.”

Westwood’s record is now 6-16-2 overall and 3-4 in the region. Blythewood’s record is 22-15-3 overall and 6-1 in their region.

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