Lady Barons' finishing troubles costly in classic

MOUNT VERNON -- Brewton-Parker College volleyball coach Jason Bryant watched his Lady Barons push three opponents hard Friday and Saturday at the Mid-Season Classic in Montgomery, Ala.

As Bryant bluntly stated, however, "We just couldn't finish," and Brewton-Parker finished the classic winless in four matches.

"We have a good team, but we have to finish against stronger teams," said Bryant, whose team slipped to 18-12 overall after the Lady Barons had won nine of their previous 10 matches. "We were beating good teams earlier, but now we just aren't finishing."

In their first match, the Lady Barons lost the first game 30-17 to Dillard University (La.), the No. 3 team in NAIA Region XIII, and were tied at 28-all and again at 29-all in the second game before falling 31-29. The teams were tied in the third game at 27-all and 28-all before Dillard finished with two straight points to complete the 3-0 sweep.

"We haven't finished games well in the past week or so," said Bryant, who got 16 kills in the match from junior outside hitter Latika Thomas of Gainesville, Fla., and 37 assists from senior setter Jeni Paul of Woodstock.

The Lady Barons then met up with Spring Hill College of Mobile, Ala., the No. 1 team in the region, and the Lady Badgers proved worthy of the catbird seat by sweeping Brewton-Parker 30-21, 30-11, 30-18. "We were just outmanned against them," Bryant said.

On Saturday, the Lady Barons enjoyed early success against Belhaven College of Jackson, Miss., by winning the first two games. The teams were tied at 27-all in the third game, which Belhaven finished with three straight points to win 30-27. The Lady Blazers then won the fourth game 30-17 to force a tiebreak game, won by Belhaven 15-12.

Paul recorded 52 assists against Belhaven, while junior middle hitter KC Cheshire of Marietta had 19 kills and freshman outside hitter Debbie Sooter of Meridian, Idaho, made 30 digs.

Brewton-Parker finished the classic against Freed-Hardeman College of Henderson, Tenn., and again had trouble finishing games. After the teams were tied at 26-all in the first game, the Lady Lions won four straight points to win the game.

After the Lady Barons won the next game 30-16 to even the match, the teams were tied several times in the third game before Freed-Hardeman won it 35-33 and then finished the fourth game and the match by winning three straight points for a 30-27 win.

Paul had 48 assists against Freed-Hardeman and Thomas made 28 kills.

The Lady Barons have three matches this week, beginning with Tuesday's trip to Orangeburg, S.C., to face Claflin University.

Brewton-Parker returns to Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference action, in which the Lady Barons are 4-3, Wednesday with a 6:30 p.m. match against Faulkner University at the Student Activities Center - a match moved up from Thursday.

The Lady Barons continue GACC play with a 2 p.m. match Saturday at home against Brenau University, and then travel to Americus to face Georgia Southwestern State University on Tuesday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m.