New star emerges as Lady Tigers rally for five-set win over WSN

Published 1:29 pm Monday, September 25, 2006

By BY Bruce Hixon
Sports Editor

Brittany Watson's size and jumping skills made T.R. Miller Lady Tigers volleyball coach Sharon Peacock want to lure the 5-11 junior middle hitter into her program during the past offseason.
Watson picked a great time to show off what she could do with those skills, as she powered home a season high 17 kills to rally the Lady Tigers to a 25-19, 21-25, 23-25, 25-12, 15-7 win over the visiting W.S. Neal Lady Blue Eagles Tuesday.
Tuesday's match was the first of four encounters over the next month between the arch rivals. They meet Oct. 7 in the Escambia County Tournament, Oct. 12 at W.S. Neal and Oct. 17 in the opening round of the Class 4A Area 2 Tournament to be played at T.R. Miller.
Lady Blue Eagles coach Britney Shelly agreed the first of the four encounters can have a big impact as to what happens later in the season.
Shelly and the Lady Blue Eagles also know they missed a great opportunity to post their first win ever over the Lady Tigers.
Courtney Scott had two key serving strings for T.R. Miller. The first came in the opening set when W.S. Neal led 16-13.
A defensive kill by Shandreka Foster preceded a seven-point string by Scott that gave the Lady Tigers a 21-16 advantage. It was during that string where Watson first started to establish herself with three straight kills.
Watson later picked up her sixth kill of the set and Foster added her fifth to help T.R. Miller hang on for the victory.
The Lady Tigers had as much as a five-point edge in set two and still led 21-19 when a defensive kill by Jamica Thomas gave W.S. Neal a spark.
Thomas' kill set opened the door for a five-point string by Jessica Fountain that enabled the Lady Blue Eagles to win the set and even the match.
Set three followed a similar pattern. T.R. Miller wiped out a six-point deficit early in the set and took a 17-16 lead on a five-point string by Leslie Nalty. The Lady Tigers still had a 22-20 lead, but like the preceding set were unable to close things out.
A couple of kills by Maggie Crutchfield, a defensive point and a pair of points by Caitlyn Blackman enabled the Lady Blue Eagles to win the set and move ahead in the match.
The Lady Tigers made sure early in the fourth set the match would got the distance.
T.R. Miller never trailed after Nalty opened the set with an ace and two additional points. However, it was a seven-point, two-ace string by Scott that gave the Lady Tigers a commanding 14-2 lead. That advantage never dropped lower than nine points the rest of the way.
The final set was tied at 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5 and 6-6 before Michal Hubbard reeled off seven points, two of which were aces, that sent the Lady Tigers on their way to victory in the abbreviated decisive set.
T.R. Miller notched back-to-back wins for the first time since the opening week Thursday when it beat the visiting Flomaton Lady Hurricanes 25-19, 25-21, 25-16.
Leslie Nalty had an eight-point string to pace the Lady Tigers in the opener, while Shandreka Foster led the way with three in set two. Rachel Bostic closed out the third set with the final 13 points after Flomaton had built a 16-12 lead.
Foster put away a team high 15 kills to lead the hitting, while Brittany Watson added 11. Morgan Hubbard dished out 12 assists. Nalty had seven digs.
T.R. Miller's junior varsity downed W.S. Neal 25-13, 25-22. Janel McCorvey led the Lady Tigers with 10 points. T.R. Miller also beat Flomaton 26-24, 25-23 decision behind seven points from Mallory Mullis.

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