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Varsity Spikers Drop Match To Martinsville

Things looked promising for the Comets varsity volleyball team to play a fifth and deciding game against visiting Martinsville Monday night, with Halifax holding a 19-13 lead in game four after losing two of the first three games. Unfortunately for Halifax, Martinsville was in no mood to extend the match and rallied for a 25-22 win and a sweep of the season series.

Halifax started slow in games one and two, with the Lady Bulldogs grabbing the lead midway of both games and holding off the Comets for a pair of 25-20 wins.

The momentum shifted in game three with the Comets rolling to leads of 9-0, 13-1 and 16-2 before winning 25-7 and Halifax rallied in game four after trailing early to grab the six-point lead.

Martinsville fought back to tie the game at 21-21 and reached match point at 24-22, before sealing the win on a close line call at the net.

The call, which ultimately decided the match in favor of Martinsville, wasn’t the ultimate factor coach Steve Mattox explained, pointing instead to the losses in the first two games.

“When you put yourself in a situation where you’re up and down you leave yourself open to a call like that,” he said referring to the Comets’ inconsistencies in falling behind.

“But, I’m not blaming anyone for this loss.  Martinsville came in the more prepared team and played fantastic defense.

“For the most part we played well.  It’s hard to come back from two games down, but they did it against Heritage in the tournament, so they knew they could do it.”

Although the Comets seemed to hold an advantage in the number of attackers, the Bulldogs compensated with digging the Comet’s attacks and dumping them into open spaces on the court, with 12 balls hitting the floor, a number Mattox thinks is too high.

“Our kills were not overly abundant and our attackers need to learn to back off a little bit,” Mattox noted. “Martinsville was smart and saw where we were getting in tight and they found the openings.

“They could see where back row players were sneaking in, and they dumped well because they hit flat balls with no arc to them.”
In contrast, the Comets found holes in the Martinsville defense on several occasions, but weren’t as consistent, Mattox noted.

“Our girls played hard and Martinsville had a whole lot of heart and were determined to dig every ball we put into play, and that’s to their credit.”

Halifax now has a week to prepare for its Western Valley District opener Tuesday at Comets Gym against defending district tournament champion Franklin County.

Mattox is looking forward to the challenge, adding the match was a prime opportunity to get off to a good start in the district.
“It’s nice to get the district opener at home,” Mattox said.

“Our goal this year is to finish in the top two of the district and I don’t think they’ll be too down about tonight, because Martinsville is a good team.”

Comets Stats
• Service Aces: Jessie Bagbey, Kelsey Thompson four; Jill Trickey two; Johanna Spencer one
• Service Points: Bagbey 13; Thompson 12; Trickey four; Kate Bane, Spencer three; Alex O’Neil, Jameshia Smith two
• Good Passes: Bane 24; Spencer 18; Jameshia Smith 15; Bagbey eight; Thompson, O’Neil seven; Trickey six; Whitney McCargo five; Jamilia Smith, Megan Day three; Melyse Brown two; Nia Brown one
• Good Sets: Bagbey 53; Spencer two
• Kills: McCargo, Jamilia Smith five; Spencer four; Jameshia Smith three; Nia Brown two; Melyse Brown one
• Blocks: Jamilia Smith, Melyse Brown three; McCargo one
• Service Percentage: 86 percent
•  Passing Percentage: 77 percent
•  Setting Percentage: 98 percent