Despite both teams losing to No. 23 Calvary Day, Statesboro upset Southeast Bulloch, sweeping the Yellow Jackets by set counts of 25-12 and 25-22.
Following the Blue Devil’s losing to Calvary Day 25-14, 25-19 and SEB losing 25-10, 25-6, the two local team squared off in a match Statesboro would dominate from the get-go.
“Our record doesn’t look good because we play good teams,” Statesboro head coach Bob Massee said. “It was only a matter of time we were going to break through and beat one.”
After SEB jumped out to a 3-1 lead, Statesboro would jump back up 5-3 to begin game one. A plethora of errors plagued both sides early in the game as the sides traded mistakes — but in the end Statesboro would wind up ahead 12-11 at the halfway point.
It was at that moment Statesboro would take control with an iron fist, going on a 13-2 run to close out game one. Jordan Palmer came through with three straight service aces near the near of the game for Statesboro while Betty Bird Newton added two of their own.
“I just think we have a lot of senioritis on this team,” said SEB head coach Stephanie Harrelson. “We started the season up here and now we’ve progressively come down to here.”
Game two provided a much more competitive contest between the two schools, albeit fans would have to wait towards the end of the match to get some competition. Statesboro blew the doors off Southeast Bulloch at the beginning of the match, jumping out to a 15-3 lead off nine Yellow Jacket errors. Without their best player in the lineup, Sunni Williams, SEB looked lost on the court,
SEB picked up their play near the middle of the game, but still trailed 22-13. But when Massee started to rotate his subs, SEB took advantage and steamed ahead. Benefiting from seven Statesboro errors, SEB would bring the match within two points at 24-22.
“When we wake up and play the game, we’re actually good,” Harrelson said. “But sometimes we just watch the game. I’m trying to figure out what’s wrong exactly.”
Anticlimactically, what had turned into an exciting match ended in a net infraction by SEB, giving the game and the sweep to Statesboro. In the end, SEB would give away 28 of Statesboro’s 50 points on errors.
“Our outside hitters have been competing so well in practice,” Massee said. “It really showed today on the court.”
Statesboro hung competitively with Calvary Day in both their games, a trait that’s become very familiar to the Blue Devil’s this season. As a matter of fact, in game on Statesboro would jump out to a 6-2 lead by the benefit of three straight Cavalier errors.
However the surprising 6-2 start quickly evaporated when Calvary day went on a 7-0 run to make it 9-6, four of those points coming off Cav kills. The two teams would trade points to run the score 13-9 in favor of Calvary Day when Statesboro broke through with another four point run -- carried by a block from Meredith Carter and a service ace from Jordan Palmer.
Now down by two, Statesboro had their momentum swiped from out underneath them when Calvary Day stormed forward to score the next 12 of 14 points run by way of seven Blue Devil errors and four Cav kills. In a matter of minutes, Statesboro had lost game one 25-14.
“I’m not worried about wins and losses at this point, I want to earn the respect of these good teams,” Massee said. “When they leave the court I want them to say ‘that’s a good team’”
The second game saw a much better performance from Statesboro, cutting their errors from 13 to five and upping their kills from two to five. Even though Statesboro never led in game two unlike game one, the never let the lead for Calvary Day get larger than eight.
“We really learned how to relax after that first Calvary Day game,” Massee said. “Just knowing how to reset and get things going again.”
Calvary Day still won the game on big runs, getting 19 of their 25 points on those big chunks. Statesboro could only manage nine points of two separate runs in game two.
As for SEB, they couldn't even stay competitive with Calvary Day. The Cavs scored 42 of their 50 points off runs, while SEB could just muster four points off runs out of their total of 16. It was without question the lowest point of the Yellow Jackets season.
“I really don’t know what to say anymore,” Harrelson said. “We’re in a rut right now.”
Statesboro (4-12) travels to Effingham County Thursday while Southeast Bulloch (13-10) goes back to Calvary Day.