Buckingham Survives Central's Late Charge

Published 4:32 pm Thursday, November 4, 2010

BUCKINGHAM – In volleyball, an illegal substitution costs the offending team just one point. Which usually isn't a harsh penalty, considering that it's possible to award over 200 points in a four-set match. But when the error happens on match point, as happened in Buckingham's James River District Tournament semifinal victory over Central of Lunenburg on Tuesday night, it can mean the season.

No. 2 seed Buckingham took the match 3-1 (25-22, 27-25, 15-25, 25-22), moved on to the JRD Tournament Finals, and was scheduled to play at No. 1 seed Randolph-Henry on Thursday night.

“You hate to win a game on a technicality,” said BCHS head coach Ethan Abruzzo. “But we'll take it. It's our first postseason tournament victory in a very long time, so I guess you could say that a win is a win.”

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Tied at 20-apiece in the fourth set, Buckingham took advantage of three consecutive Central errors to get a 23-20 lead, and a service error by the Lady Chargers to go ahead 24-21, before the Chargers scored the following point.

Then, on the decisive point, Central appeared to have closed to within a point at 24-23, but the official had already notified the scorer's table of a substitution infraction – more-or-less giving the point, and the match to Buckingham while play was still going on.

“I was getting nervous there for a while,” said Abruzzo.

Buckingham survived two close sets, before Central started to claw its way back in the third. BCHS hitter Sarah Frazier went down in the third set, and was forced from the game for a while, but was able to return.

Central jumped out to a 18-8 lead, but Buckingham cut its deficit to 18-14 after Micheala Leatherwood helped BC get a 6-0 run in-serve. After a Central timeout, the Lady Chargers went on a 7-1 run of their own to take the third set.

With Frazier back, Buckingham worked its way to a 13-9 lead on an ace by Chelsea Shumaker, but the Chargers rattled off six straight points to take a 15-13 lead, before Frazier tallied two kills to tie the match.

Central jumped back ahead 18-16, but a kill by Frazier, a wide return by Central, an ace by Kim Warner, and a hard spike by Frazier gave BC a 20-18 advantage, leading up to the final moments of the fourth set.

“Sarah played well, and was able to maintain it after she came back,” said Abruzzo. “I thought we passed well and communicated well. In the game we lost, we were just giving them too many free balls, and I think we got out of rhythm.”

Frazier registered 20 kills, and had four assists and two blocks on the night. Warner tallied ten aces, while Leatherwood accounted for 10 assists.

Buckingham was scheduled to play at Randolph-Henry on Thursday night for the James River District Tournament title. R-H Defeated Cumberland 3-0.

“We know their game, but both times they were able to sweep us in three games,” said Abruzzo. “We'll have to really work on communicating, and make sure we get good passes.

“Consistency is going to be the key. We can't give up five or six point runs, but at the same time, we're going to need to get a few runs ourselves.”