Lady Barons spike season-opening opponents

Brewton-Parker College's returnees and newcomers proved to be winning combination for the Lady Barons' volleyball team in sweeping through their season-opening tournament action Friday and Saturday.

The Lady Barons lost just one game in their opening match of the Voorhees College round-robin tourney in Denmark, S.C., but swept their final three opponents to finish the tournament unbeaten and 4-0 on the season.

In the match that concerned Brewton-Parker coach Jason Bryant the most, the Lady Barons responded to Fort Valley State University's tying the match at one game each by winning the next two for a 3-1 win (30-23, 26-30, 30-22, 30-25).

"Fort Valley is a powerhouse -- big, tall and strong in the front," Bryant said. "In that particular match, the two junior college transfers and the seniors we have really come through."

Junior transfer Shanti Cortese had 14 kills and Latika Thomas, another junior transfer from St. Johns River Community College in Palatka, Fla., made 13 kills. Senior returnee Aislyn MacLeod followed with 11 kills, and senior Jenni Paul made 38 assists.

"We figured that would probably be the match of the tournament," Bryant said. "If we could get by that, the next roadblock would be Paine (College, of Augusta) because we have been successful against the other two."

Success was the Lady Barons' against Voorhees, with a 3-0 sweep (30-21, 30-23, 30- 27), though Bryant noted that the host team was much improved over last season. "The game scores will tell you it was better than the 3-0 match score."

Thomas led the Lady Barons with 10 kills and senior Mindy Cooper had six kills.

Brewton-Parker and Paine entered its Saturday match with 2-0 records from Friday's action, with the winner in the driver's seat for winning the tournament. "They were tall and big, just like Fort Valley," Bryant said -- and also beaten by the Lady Barons 3-0 (30- 17, 30-26, 30-19).

Paul made 36 assists in the match, setting up Thomas' 14 kills, junior KC Cheshire's 11 kills and MacLeod's nine kills. Cortese had 24 digs and freshman Elizebeth Hindley had 17 digs in just two games.

Brewton-Parker finished the four-match sweep with its easiest victory of the tournament by defeating Morris College (S.C.) in three straight games (30-19, 30-15, 30-14).

"We had it already clinched, so we just wanted to make sure nobody tied with us," said Bryant, who watched red-shirt freshman Jessica Ulin and freshman Kendall Jackson slam seven kills apiece and Hindley make 17 digs.

"The leadership from the upperclassmen was extraordinary, and the play of Jessica Ulin was enriching," Bryant added.

"In overall assessment, our passing was really good. Debbie Sooter (freshman), Nicole Behning (senior) and Amanda San U (junior) were exceptional the entire tournament," Bryant said, adding that defensive specialist San U was the Lady Barons' all-tournament team representative.

The Lady Barons had their Tuesday night home match against Edward Waters College (Fla.) canceled, so their home opener will be Saturday at 2:30 p.m. against Berry College at the Student Activities Center. Brewton-Parker then plays Wesleyan College of Macon at home next Tuesday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m.