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Lady Dragons squeak by Lafayette in first round of Class 3 East Region tournament

South Boston News
Kaitlyn Campbell executes a diving dig to keep her team in the mix against Lafayette High School on Wednesday. (Steve Hinzman photo) / November 13, 2019
The Park View volleyball team, seeded first in the VHSL Class 3A East Region, hosted the number eight seed Lafayette Lady Rams on Wednesday night. Ordinarily, no. 1 versus no. 8 contests are lopsided affairs, but this match proved to be an exception to that rule and the Lady Dragons were pushed to the brink, winning 3-2.

Game one set the tone for the entire match as both teams played their hearts out in a hard-fought battle that took extra points to settle. The Lady Rams jumped out to a 5-1 lead before the Lady Dragons gathered themselves and got back to within a point, trailing 7-6. The score remained tight with Park View trailing by one or two points until they tied it up at 23-all.

Lady Dragon sophomore Deaona Watkins powered down a massive kill to give the Dragons their first lead at 24-23. The Rams knotted it up at 24 before Watkins once again went to the net and sent a spike to the floor with authority for a 25-24 lead and game point. The Dragons got the next point after a long rally and took game one 26-24.

Game two was an almost exact reversal of game one with the Lady Dragons holding a one- or two-point lead all the way to 24-21 when the Lady Rams took a time out. Whatever the coach said to the players worked because the Lady Rams scored five straight points to take game two, 24-26.

The Lady Dragons bounced back in game three and once again jumped out to an early lead at 4-0. The Lady Rams quickly caught up and tied the game at 5 and then again at 9 before Park View took over and pulled away to a 19-14 lead before going on to take the win at 25-15.

Game four went the way of the Lady Rams, and again it was nearly an identical reversal of game three. The Lady Rams pushed out to a six-point lead before PV bounced back to get to within one, trailing 10-9. After another strong push Lafayette jumped ahead 18-14. Park View cut it to three points before the Lady Rams scored six straight points to put PV away. The Lady Dragons managed two more points but fell in the fourth game, 25-17 in favor of Lafayette.

In the final game of a best-of-5 series, the teams only played to 15 to win. PV quickly found themselves trailing 6-3 when Watkins once again stepped up with one of her trademark power kills from the left side for a point and a momentum swing. The Lady Dragons evened the score at 7-7, then took the lead and never looked back. With the score at 11-7 the Lady Rams were poised to score when sophomore phenom Kaylee Coker got a huge block to add to the PV lead. The teams then traded points for a few rounds with PV maintaining a small three-point lead at 14-11 before scoring the match winner.

With the win, the Lady Dragons earned the right to advance and face the Lakeland Lady Cavaliers in the second-round game scheduled for Monday, November 11. If the Lady Dragons are successful Monday, they will earn the right to play for the region tournament title against the winner of the Tabb/New Kent semi-final on Tuesday. More importantly, the winner of Monday’s game will earn an automatic berth in the VHSL Class 3A State Tournament set to begin on Nov. 16.

Scoring leaders for PV: Deaona Watkins 22 kills, 3 aces and 2 blocks, Courtlyn Hawkins 20 kills and 5 blocks, Cambra Graham 7 kills, Kaylee Coker 9 kills and 5 blocks, Erin Bailey 23 assists and 5 aces, Carson Wall 14 assists, 3 aces and 2 kills.

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