Pine Tree’s Sam Sommerfeld and Maleaka Wilson combined for 26 kills, while Renee Garrett contributed 37 assists, ensuring the Lacy Coldiron era got off to a successful start with a four-set 25-23, 25-11, 24-26, 25-13 win over Mount Pleasant on Tuesday at The Pirate Center.
The Lady Pirates grabbed control of the contest in the second set and appeared headed for a three-set sweep before the Lady Tigers rallied back to win the third and force a fourth.
“We talked about focus between the third and fourth sets. We’ve been doing a lot of mental games in practice ... a lot of mental drills making them focus in on the little things,” Coldiron said. “I actually challenged them and told them I wanted it to be a 25-15 game. When we finished and it was 25-13, they told me ‘beat you coach.’ It was good.”
After four ties and a couple lead changes, the Lady Pirates swelled their 13-10 lead to 17-10 four service winners from Taitum Barry, who finished the evening with 15 digs.
Mount Pleasant inched back within 15-17 on the aid of four consecutive points from Ke’mya Davis. After Taitum Barry broke serve, Hanna Barry reeled off three in a row, including an ace and a Wilson slam to make it 21-15.
The Lady Tigers wouldn’t go away, however, and pulled to 21-23 after four straight from Brooke Vaughn and a kill shot from Shay Wilkerson. Vaughn went long with a serve taking it to set point for the Lady Pirates.
Sommerfeld alertly pushed a shot to the back row that was returned out of bounds to clinch a hard-earned first set. Pine Tree got cranked up in the second set with five straight from Garrett, which included an ace, to build a 10-3 advantage.
Wilson came through with a block and followed with a slam via a Garrett feed to make it 20-9. Sommerfeld delivered a laser down the line and Kendall King closed things out with thunder slam from Garrett.
“I knew after that second set if we just stayed focus and trusted each other we’d be just fine,” said Coldiron. “Our girls have worked their tails off and to see them actually get to play a game was great.”
The third set saw six ties and a couple lead changes before Mount Pleasant prevailed on a rare unforced error from Pine Tree.
Much like they did in the second set, the Lady Pirates raced out to a commanding 9-1 lead as Taitum Barry accounted for a half dozen unanswered winners. Sommerfeld, who led the way with 16 digs, came up with a timely kill shot after King made a block.
Jamaya Davis, who served a team-best 19 points, pushed Pine Tree to match point with an ace. It was her second ace int he four-point run. Sommerfeld and Wilson rang up kills in the process.
“I think there was a huge difference between our scrimmage Saturday and this first game. We’re starting to settle in and I see really good things in the future,” said Coldiron.