Rockdale volleyball bounces back

CONYERS -- When Eastside and Union Grove came calling Thursday evening, Rockdale's volleyball team had been coming off two disappointing losses. But the Bulldogs quickly erased the memory of those defeats with one of the their strongest performances of the season.

Rockdale (8-5) swept two matches from both local rival Eastside and Union Grove in non-area play at Davis Middle School.

Leading Union Grove by a game, but just 11-7 in Game 2, Rockdale got to work. A pair of kills by Majesti Bass got Rockdale started on a 14-2, game-ending run, and Abby Bradford's dominating serve (four aces over the final stretch of the game) helped the Bulldogs score the final nine points of a 25-9 victory.

Game 1 was much closer, though Rockdale never trailed. It was just an 8-6 cushion early on before Bradford had two kills and an ace to help make it a five-point game. Natheree Lackey had four of her eight assists to give the Bulldogs their biggest cushion at eight points, and Adrienne Williams sealed the 25-20 win with a kill.

In the first match of the night, Rockdale had no trouble with Eastside, winning 25-10 and 25-9. The Eagles got as close as 11-5 in the first game, but Lackey picked up two of her six match assists during an 8-2 spurt that put some distance between the schools, separated by just 13 miles.

Rockdale pulled away early in the second game, turning a slim lead into a blowout. Jaida Allen had consecutive aces, part of a 13-1 run that put the Bulldogs up 20-5.

In the middle match of the night, Union Grove handled Eastside 2-0. The opener saw the Eagles cut a 22-5 deficit to 24-14 late, but a service error, one of 53 on the night for the Eagles, clinched the Wolverines' 25-14 win. In Game 2, Jasmine Babbs had four of her match-high six kills as the Henry County school closed on a 13-2 run (Alex Brake had two aces and an assist as well) to win 25-10.