Lady Barons Reach 20-win Mark, Win 5 Straight

 

By Terry Gaston

MOUNT VERNON -- A five-match winning streak last week boosted the Brewton-Parker College Lady Barons volleyball team to the 20-win plateau for the first time in the five-year program's history.

Four of the wins came in the Atlanta area, while the other victory not only gave the Lady Barons their first conference victory of the season but may have turned Coach Jason Bryant into a soccer fan as well.

With several Latino members of the Barons soccer team at the top of the Student Activities Center bleachers leading chants of "O-le, o-le," the Lady Barons turned around respective deficits of seven, nine and five points to complete a 3-0 match sweep Friday night over Brenau University.

Brewton-Parker (21-7 overall) then swept all three of its matches Saturday in a quadrangular at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, the second of which not only gave the Lady Barons four straight 3-0 victories but passed the program's previous best of 19 wins set last year.

Brewton-Parker opened with a 3-0 win over Judson (Ala.) College and then swept Agnes Scott 3-0 before taking a 3-2 victory over Oglethorpe University.

The win over Agnes Scott also was the Lady Barons' 15th of the year by a 3-0 game count.

In Friday's Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference match, Brewton-Parker won the first game 30-28 after trailing 23-16.

The Lady Barons then took the second game 31-29 on six straight points after facing a 29-25 deficit and three match-tying points for Brenau.

The visiting Golden Tigers (11-6 overall, 2-2 GACC after the loss) forged ahead in the third game 9-4, but Brewton-Parker erased that deficit by winning 11 of the next 14 points for a 15-12 lead en route to a 30-21 win ended by senior hitter Alissa Vogt's match-ending kill.

"That was the best fan exhibition I've ever seen," Bryant said in saluting the vibrant Brewton-Parker supporters. "I'm going to a soccer game the next chance I get."

Bryant said he felt the vocal crowd support lifted the Lady Barons out of their first- and second-game deficits and helped set the stage for senior hitter Mindy Cooper's strong serving that spurred the dramatic second-game rally.

"Mindy Cooper was really big serving for us with those six points in a row," said Bryant, who also watched junior hitter Jaime Murrant serve six straight winners in extending the Lady Barons' third-game lead to 21-14.

"I thought we didn't play as well as we could, and I thought we were a little sluggish. We didn't come out as well as we could have.

"But we had the two big comeback wins and the crowd picked us up, and I thought we played better in the third. I think Brenau let the crowd get to them a little bit. They had been playing well coming in here."

The win came on the heels of another 3-0 sweep Oct. 8 at Spelman College in Atlanta.

In that match, Bryant said Brewton-Parker scored come-from-behind wins in the second and third games to complete the sweep.

The Lady Barons "came out really strong, as we usually do," Coach Jason Bryant said, with a 30-17 victory in the opening game.

Brewton-Parker then trailed 28-23 in the second game before answering with seven straight points to win the game 30-28 for a 2-0 lead.

Then the Lady Barons again responded well to a 27-23 deficit in Game 3, outscoring Spelman 7-1 the rest of the way to win 30-28 and clinch the match.

"Spelman is an NCAA Division II team that is really tall, really quick and really fast," Bryant said. "That was a pretty good win for us."

The Lady Barons play host to a four-team tournament Friday and Saturday beginning with simultaneous matches at 6 and 8 Friday night.

Brewton-Parker will open against Toccoa Falls College, while Spelman plays Trinity College of Jacksonville, Fla., At 8, the Lady Barons play Trinity while Spelman faces Toccoa Falls.

On Saturday, Brewton-Parker takes on Spelman at 9 a.m., with Toccoa Falls playing Trinity at 11 a.m.

The first- and fourth-place teams from the round-robin will play in the first semifinal match at 1 p.m., and the Nos. 2 and 3 teams meet at 3 p.m. The semifinal winners then meet at 5 p.m. for the tournament title.

Brewton-Parker began this week with a GACC match Tuesday at Georgia Southwestern State University in Albany.

The Lady Barons then play at Wesleyan College in Macon on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m.