Newton's Shantana Todd (from right),Kiara Lee and Raven Prathercongradualate Eastside's volleyball afterNewrton wins its first-ever series over Eastside on Thursday.
COVINGTON -- Even though Newton had a commanding lead in the first game of their best of five series against Eastside, it was Ashley Viel's block shot that seemed to give the Lady Rams the momentum they needed to beat the Lady Eagles 3-1 to start their season's on Thursday.
"She needed that confidence booster because sometimes she lets herself get down," Newton head coach Shandelyn Carter said. "That helped her play well for the rest of the match."
Newton, who was already leading 21-6, went on to win the first game 25-7 before losing the second game 25-21. However, the Lady Rams were able to get back on track taking the last two games 25-13 and 25-19 to win the match.
"They have a lot of experience coming back on their team. I think they have eight seniors and we have the seniors, one is a first-year player," Eastside head coach Angie Lewis said. "We have a lot of young players which I think we contended really well for having such a young team.
"In that last game I wanted them to keep their heads up. I didn't want them to get discouraged (because) one game from another is a totally different game."
One of the many things that Newton had over Eastside was communication. While Eastside's team was rather quiet for most of the time on the court, Newton's girls were telling each other where the ball was and who was coming to the net.
A lot of those communication skills have to do with the fact that Newton's girls have been through a lot of struggles before getting to this point.
"A lot of them had the opportunity to play together for two, three seasons. I think they finally understand the game. There are still some things we need to work on, but they have improved a lot since over the last two seasons. They're still learning where to go and how to get there quickly. But they have done a good job," Carter said.
In Eastside's only win, the Lady Eagles had to come from behind. Trailing 7-2, Eastside's Sidney Johnston served well enough to get her team to within one point, 7-6, before Newton got the serve back.
Newton eventually built their lead back up but Eastside managed to stay close until an ace by Tiffany Lauj tied the game at 14. While both teams went back and forth trading points at the end, it was Eastside that always ended up with the advantage.
"I told them coming in that they have some height and that they'll be on the net blocking. They were expecting it but I think it kind of took them by surprise too," Lewis said. "We're doing a 6-2 for the first time so we still have work out some kinks. It's still early in the season so hopefully we'll get that worked out."