Jefferies leads Garner to tournament title over Clayton

CorrespondentOctober 16, 2013 

— After splitting two five-set matches with Clayton in the regular season, Garner’s volleyball team made sure its third meeting didn’t last that long.

Garner, playing at a high level in all phases, defeated the Comets 25-18, 25-17, 25-9 in the championship match of the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference on Wednesday – winning its fourth straight league tournament title.

Clayton had snapped Garner’s 60-match winning streak in conference games with a five-set victory at Garner on Sept. 26 and won a coin flip to host the tournament semifinals and finals. The Trojans came into the final with some extra fire, determined to avenge the streak-stopper.

“We talked a lot about being into the game 100 percent the entire time and it showed,” senior outside hitter Ka’asha Jefferies said. “We beat them in three and that is exactly what we came in here thinking and we pulled it out.”

Jefferies, the Trojans’ leader with 193 kills coming into the game despite missing a couple of weeks with a foot injury, was at the top of her game.

Jefferies had 21 kills and only two attack errors. At times, she took over the game with her play at the net.

In the second set with the score tied at 11, Jefferies had five kills in a 7-2 Garner run that put the Trojans in command. In the third set, she made a diving dig several feet wide of the court to keep the ball alive and ended up getting a kill later in the point that put the Trojans up 8-2.

Senior Brooke Kamphuis was also strong at the net with 12 kills, and she had five service aces. Kamphuis started out the third set with the serve and had three straight aces as the Trojans jumped to a 7-0 lead.

“I feel like this game we were playing for each other and not for ourselves, which is what we need to do every game,” Kamphuis said. “I’m really proud that we all pulled together and pulled this one out.

“We’re at our peak now. Everything is clicking and it feels pretty good.”

Senior setter Courtney Weathersbee, who has started every Trojans game for her four seasons, was particularly vocal during the game – keeping her team up and playing an outstanding all-round game. Weathersbee had 37 assists and three kills.

“That game felt great,” Weathersbee said. “I think we all just wanted it so badly and we all came together and played like we know how to. I’m just so glad we did it and I want to cherish every moment that I have with this team because you never know what is going to happen in the playoffs.

“Winning this made my season a lot better.”

The Trojans (22-2) played their best overall game of the season, coach Jason Boyette said. “We talked about it in practice yesterday and said we just have to put everything together. We know we can play better than we were. We played well and we are going to have to play that well if we are going to win any more games.

“We had a great practice and it carried over to today.”

Both teams head to the playoffs with home games in the first round.

Clayton (20-3) had a historic season, winning its first regular-season title since 1986 when it shared the title with the Trojans and winning 20 games for the first time in program history.

The Comets were led offensively in the final by seniors Ali Orringer and Caitlin Davis with five kills each and senior Ashley Murphy with three.

“We just didn’t pass the ball well tonight and didn’t do a good job of anticipating a lot of our blocks,” Clayton coach Marlon Lee said. “They are a good team and we are a good team. Hats off to them.

“But I told the team we are not going to look at this last game as our season. … We’ve done a lot this season. I’m still proud of my girls. We are going to hold our heads up high.”

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