CALYPSO - Tied at 22 in the second set, North Duplin head volleyball coach Laura Thornton could see momentum slipping away Tuesday evening.
She asked for a timeout.
Samantha Beavers wished she remembered what Thornton said during the break.
“I could not 100 percent tell you, I was shaking so bad and I just wanted to win so bad,” Beavers laughed. “My adrenaline was kicking in and I was like ‘I don’t know what they’re going to say, but I’m going to do my best.’”
The Rebels profited from consecutive unforced errors and senior Melvia Matul-Puac served a set-clinching ace. Brimming with confidence and relief, Beavers and her teammates eventually rolled to a 25-16, 25-22, 25-8 triumph over Carolina 1A rival Hobbton.
Neither team held more than a three-point advantage in the second set.
North Duplin (2-1 overall, 2-1 Carolina 1A) grabbed its first lead, 19-18, on a Hobbton attack error. Senior Callie Thornton served an ace before the teams traded sideouts on unforced errors.
Reece Outlaw delivered a kill, which pushed the Rebels ahead 22-19.
The Wildcats forced the 22-22 deadlock.
So, what exactly did Thornton say in the timeout?
“We just had to reset, take a deep breath, collect ourselves for a minute,” Thornton said. “We had to focus on what we needed to do, remember who we are and how we play.”
The Rebels continued to flourish from the service line in set three and seized an insurmountable lead that swelled to as many as 17 points. Starr Jaco served four straight aces, and capped the match with a dig that sailed back over Hobbton’s side of the net and dropped harmlessly to the floor.
Jaco also tallied 13 digs and seven assists.
Beavers dished out 12 assists and collected three aces. Outside hitter Callie Thornton logged eight kills, five digs, four aces and one solo block. Morgan McCoy provided six kills and one solo block.
As a team, North Duplin posted 25 kills, 22 assists, 28 digs, 17 aces and three solo blocks. The Rebels overcame 34 unforced errors, including eight miscues from the service line.
“I’m just so proud that everybody was a contributor to the game, thankful that the kids rose to the occasion,” coach Thornton said. “Every game we’ve tried a new [starting] rotation. I appreciate all the kids coming together, being open to trying and committed to make the play. They all committed to see this game through tonight.”
North Duplin earned its seventh straight victory against Hobbton (1-2, 1-2) and 14th overall in 19 meetings since Aug. 2011.