WORTON — As the Trojans were putting away the scorer’s table and chairs and taking down the net following a win in the first round of the 1A East Region volleyball tournament Nov. 4, coach Michelle Phillips said she wished they had played quicker.
How quick is quicker?
We ask because Kent County defeated Pocomoke in short order. Set scores were 25-11, 25-3 and 25-13.
In the second set, Kent scored 22 unanswered points during junior Caitlin Price’s serve.
Three points later, senior Anna Phillips’ serve found open space in the middle of the court for set point.
Throughout the match, most of Kent’s points were scored on Pocomoke errors — especially serve receive.
“All we had to do today was put the ball in play,” said coach Phillips, acknowledging that the Trojans benefited greatly from their opponents’ mistakes.
Michelle Phillips said she had the utmost confidence in her first four servers, Price, Anna Phillips, Natalie Walls and Bianca Potts.
Walls, last year’s team MVP, has been on the sidelines most of the season while healing from a knee injury that abruptly ended her lacrosse season in the spring.
She came off the bench only to serve — just as she had during the Oct. 5 regular-season match with Pocomoke that Kent also won in straight sets.
Walls served back-to-back aces in the opening set to level the score at 4 and had a third ace as she helped to turn a 2-4 deficit into a 7-4 lead that the Trojans held the rest of the way.
Also in the first set, Kent scored nine straight points on the serve of Price to get to 23-10.
After a sideout, Anna Phillips finished off the set with an ace for the 25-11 final.
Pocomoke won the first two points of the second set before Price orchestrated the 22-0 run.
All five of Kent’s seniors were sent out to start the third set — Phillips, Potts, Myona Moore, Kacie Hammer and Walls — along with Price, who shares the libero position with classmate Savannah Scott.
The locals never trailed.
During the serving of Potts from the left corner, closest to her team’s bench, the Trojans scored four straight points as part of a 5-0 run to stretch their lead to 10-3.
The Trojans led by at least five points the rest of the way with contributions from all players on the court, including underclassmen Jaeda Hoxter and Izzy Anderson.
They reached their first double-digit lead at 17-7 on Price’s serve and again at 20-10 on an Anna Phillips ace.
A run of five straight points on Phillips’ serve took them to the brink of victory, 24-10.
Match and set point came on a Pocomoke attack error.
Coach Phillips said she has seen a higher level of play from the Trojans beginning with a very competitive three-set match Oct. 19 against their Queen Anne’s neighbors.
“I am pleased with the growth and improvement this team has shown. Many of the girls come to the high school never having played volleyball and their hard work has paid off,” she wrote in an email to the Kent County News.
“After the QA match I was proud of how well they played together. The girls were tenacious on defense and we were able to give our setter a chance to run the offense. We still have problems with unforced errors but even with that, we have played well.”