The Camden-Frontier Redskins on the other hand were left shaking their heads in frustration after a second straight defeat at the hands of one of the league’s top schools
The Rams swept the Redskins 25-13, 25-12, 25-12 in a rare lopsided contest between the long-time nemeses and N A-J moved to 2-0 in the league, while C-F will be forced to play catch-up at 0-2.
Rams head coach Darren Kittle said he knows he has a special team on his hands, he was just concerned with the build-up for such a key match this early in the season.
“These girls have been playing together for a long time. My biggest issue with them was this was a huge game and I was wondering if they’d get nerved up for it, and we just stayed relaxed and goofed around a little bit and it paid off,” he said.
The Redskins struggled to receive the Rams’ serves in the first set and Kittle’s girls were fundamentally sound and consistent, while C-F coach Dawn Follis had her hands full as her girls looked lost at times.
“We did not deserve to win tonight. Defensively and offensively they had us hands down,” she said. “We just had too many errors. Volleyball is a game of the least mistakes wins and we had definitely the most mistakes.”
The Redskins tried to fight back in the second set but they overhit several kill opportunities and couldn’t find a rhythm as N A-J jumped out to an 11-4 lead and never looked back.
The third game was but a formality, as Rams junior Miranda Hammons offered up some exclamation point kills and N A-J won going away after taking an 11-2 lead.
“We thought we’d be one of the leaders (in the league) and you don’t know until you play one of the best. And this is a good indication of where we might be in the standings in the league,” Kittle said. “I think they played last night and couldn’t get anything fixed with no practice time between. That wasn’t a typical Camden performance at all and everyone knows they’ll be back.”
One of the girls who truly stood out Wednesday evening was junior Rams setter Kristen Trudell. She is in her third year as a varsity starter and her 53 assists, eight digs and four kills had a profound impact on the match.
Kittle said he doesn’t want to think about the fact she graduates in 2011 and rightfully so.
“We’re spoiled,” he said. “After next year I’m going to cry when she leaves because at practice….just everything, everything…we just rely on her, she puts the ball up there for our hitters and she is smart and scores as many points as any setter will. She’s just great.”
Kittle said her imperative understanding of the game rubs off on the younger players and it shows.
“Our girls are really, really smart players,” he said. “We find holes and it’s not always how hard you hit it, it’s sometimes where you hit it to keep them off-balance and out of their offense. We don’t really hit it that hard, we just have a lot of smart girls who know how to think.”
Shannen Kittle had 17 digs for the Rams, Hammons added 10 kills, eight digs and six aces and Katelyn Smith had eight kills.
The Redskins were led by Danielle Abney who tallied five kills and three aces and Effie Smith had 15 service-receive passes.
Follis wasn’t about to show any amount of joy or happiness though, visibly upset about her team’s effort.
“Hopefully the losses will (motivate) them. We’ll see what kind of players they are with how they bounce back from this,” she said. “Anytime we step in this gym we always have a great battle and I was not surprised at all, I was saddened by our ability to respond back.”